Some of you may already be familiar with NuRide, a new (to Austin) program that rewards people for making choices that “green” your commute or daily trips. For those of you who aren’t, the easiest way I can think to describe it is as a rewards program for everyone who contributes to taking automobiles off the roads of Central Texas.
With a goal of reducing the pollution and congestion associated with driver-only car trips, NuRide members accrue points each time they log a trip taken via carpool, vanpool, public transit, bicycle or walking. They can also accrue points for trips not taken if they telecommute. The program, which is free, allows members to… redeem their points for discounts and free stuff at local and national retailers and restaurants. It also can serve as a ride-matching service — NuRide allows you to see the affiliation of other NuRiders in your area on a map and contact them (via NuRide) if you are considering carpooling.
I’ve been a NuRide member since early November, diligently recording my regular commute via Routes #331 and #300 on Capital Metro, which according to NuRide’s calculator saves the planet 4.73 lbs in emissions and me .2 gallons of gas for each one-way trip. My efforts have earned 5,300 points from NuRide so far and I recently “cashed in” some of the points for the first time, selecting a $5 H-E-B gift card and a certificate good for 25% off at the Black Sheep Lodge.
NuRide is also co-sponsoring a one-year “Park It for the Market” promotion with retailers in the area of Sixth and Lamar, giving away $100 in gift cards each week to a NuRide member. (Over the holidays I was actually selected as one of the winners, but they ask that you respond to the email notifying you that you’ve won within a designated time period and I was with family and not checking email at the time so I lost out on the gift cards. Dangit.)
The NuRide website says there are currently 376 members in Austin and since the program launched these members have helped reduce automobile-miles traveled by nearly 300,000. If you’re already a Capital Metro (or “alternative”) commuter NuRide is a fun, free and rewarding way to get some credit for doing your part to reduce emissions and congestion — get over to NuRide and sign up!