Miles Partners with Caltrain and SamTrans To Incentivize Greener Travel

Miles Continues to Expand Its Partnerships With Cities and Public Transit Agencies – Providing Local Rewards In Return for Greener Travel Choices

Roadway congestion is one of the Bay Area’s biggest problems. In fact, according to a new study. Bay area residents spend 11 days every year stuck in traffic, costing them more than $13,000 annually. For transit providers in major cities, nudging commuters to choose alternative transportation is easier said than done. Although more Bay Area workers take public transit than most other large cities, 3 out of 4 people commute to work via car. So even as Caltrain ridership has tripled in the past three decades, the local economy and workforce has continued to grow – clogging the roadways with more drivers and rideshares. In fact, the time commuters spend in traffic has increased 1.5X faster than the population growth. 

To ease congestion and provide an incentive to make greener travel choices, Miles is proud to announce a partnership and yearlong pilot with SamTrans and Caltrain. Over the next year, eligible users will be able to earn special rewards simply by choosing to take Caltrain and SamTrans for their travel needs. 

Today the average Bay Area resident takes 70 public transit trips each year. Together with SamTrans and Caltrain, we’re working to encourage even more rides. As a part of the pilot, Caltrain and SamTrans will also hold a series of special public transit challenges to earn additional rewards, such as Amazon or Starbucks gift cards, tickets to local events, and special offers from local retailers and merchants.

Across the board, Miles rewards all of its users who choose alternate forms of transportation. Users who ride the train or public transit receive 3x the miles. Ride a bike and receive 5x miles or choose to walk or run and earn 10x miles. Through weekly challenges with SamTrans and Caltrain, we’re excited to add even more value to local commuters.

In a recent WIRED feature, transportation and mobility expert David Zipper highlighted the broader trend of public transit agencies providing rewards for greener travel. Miles partnership with Caltrain and SamTrans is highlighted prominently in the story, as well as our pilots with Contra Costa Transportation Authority, the city of Sacramento and Sacramento Regional Transit.

In contrast to other rewards programs used by transit agencies around the country, Miles is the only app on the market that rewards people for all forms of transportation – with greener travel reward even further. The Miles platform and app is also unique in that it automatically identifies your mode of transportation (using our proprietary AI engine), without requiring any action by the user, all while ensuring privacy. Users can view a log of their trips from point A to B, and see how many Miles they earned for each trip, but at no time is that individualized information shared with any 3rd party. 

While the younger generation of workers are less likely to commute by car and use public transit almost three times more often than their older colleagues, competition from Lyft, Uber and other ride-sharing services continues to contribute to traffic congestion. 

Right now, the average Bay Area commute is 32 minutes, and 15% of us spend an hour or more in our cars just getting to work every day. The worst part is that traffic is so inconsistent. Bay Area drivers need to buffer an extra 4 minutes of travel for every 10 minutes the trip is supposed to take, just to make sure we arrive on time. By encouraging more people to ride SamTrans and Caltrain, we’re removing cars from the road and helping to relieve the headache of longer commutes. 

In addition to rewarding local commuters for greener travel and reducing traffic congestion, the Miles platform also provides city and transit partners with valuable insights to assist with transit planning. By using the Miles analytics dashboard, cities can look at travel patterns in aggregate to better understand and nudge alternative, more sustainable transportation behavior.

While traffic congestion continues to increase, there is a reason to be optimistic. We know the environmental benefits of sustainable forms of transportation, especially public transit. By offering challenges to our users to earn rewards, we are encouraging more commuters to enjoy taking the train, bus or ferry to start and end the day, and leave the traffic congestion behind. 

Facts and data taken from Metropolitan Transportation Commission “Vital Signs” Website, unless otherwise linked. 

Updated July 18, 2019.