Extending the employee pre-tax benefits currently available for parking, transit passes, and vanpool costs to ridesharing could increase its appeal to commuters. New technology that verifies vehicle occupancy could aid the implementation of the benefit from this proposal. Carma’s new ridesharing app, for example, was tested in Austin, Texas in 2014. This app verifies the presence of two passengers in an automobile, which qualifies the automobile for an automatically applied 50 percent toll discount; with three or more passengers, the auto is eligible for a 100 percent rebate.
A mid-year interim report in 2014 showed 322 new carpools encouraged by the program and approximately 250 daily carpool trips in the fourth quarter of 2014. The estimated cost of constructing new lanes to provide the same capacity would be between $5.8 million and $17.4 million.