Rewards Work for Big Kids Too


Commuters who use alternative modes of transportation for getting to work in Central Oregon are getting rewarded. By tracking their saved trips in a new, user-friendly interface called Drive Less Connect, they are directly rewarded with money-saving gift certificates. But the buck doesn’t stop there.

Monetary rewards are just part of the equation for employees who walk, bike, carpool and ride public transit to their jobs. Adam Stroup, an operations manager in the manufacturing facility at Bend Research, says by bike commuting two to three days per week he can save money on fuel and extend the life of his car. Stroup, who has bike commuted for nearly twelve years, also finds that biking helps him relieve some work-related stress before he arrives home.

“If I have a hard day at work, it is a nice distraction from work stress and a good way to deprogram from the day,” says Stroup, who often rides scenic trails to his home near Summit High School from his job at Bend Research’s office near Empire Boulevard on Bend north side.

Jamie Bennett, benefits specialist in human resources at Bend Memorial Clinic, says she is finding more and more employees are using commute options because of the present state of the economy. Bend Memorial Clinic employees, currently around 550 in total, are introduced to the Commute Options rewards program as new employees, and have a direct link on the company’s intranet site to a log in page for Drive Less Connect.

Drive Less Connect, a new, free online tool, gives users a simple, secure way to find carpool matches, log their trips using an alternative mode of transportation, and earn rewards for saved (and tracked) trips. Drive Less Connect is funded by the Oregon Department of Transportation and is administered locally by Commute Options. Anyone can log in and start earning rewards for using commute options at

Employees at Bend Memorial Clinic are finding a variety of ways to save on fuel costs and earn rewards, says Bennett. Some, who live within two to three miles of work, are walking to work. Others are biking, using carpools, or teleworking. Teleworking, or not traveling to a work location at all, is also considered a commute option, one that can help both the employee and employer.

“Teleworking also saves space for us for people whose jobs do not allow them to work from home,” says Bennett. Employees who telework can also track their saved trips on Drive Less Connect, which Bennett says is more user-friendly than older tracking systems. Users simply register, calendar trips, track their savings and earn a $20 gift certificate to a local business for every 45 trips saved.

“I do like the fact that one of the gift certificates is for Bend Brewing Company,” says Stroup. Drive Less Connect users can also receive gift certificates for Grocery Outlet, The Shops at the Old Mill District, FootZone, Hutch’s Bicycles, The Pine Tavern Restaurant, and Nachelle (a jewelry manufacturer in Bend).

To get started, individuals can create their own carpool account at by clicking on the Register Now! button. Registering only takes a few minutes, and accounts can be used immediately upon verification. All information is also kept private. Account holders are personally in control of how their information is shared.

Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information about Commute Options, contact Jeff Monson, Executive Director of Commute Options at 541-330-2647 or visit

Annissa Anderson is a freelance writer and PR consultant in Bend.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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