Amazon is always looking for ways to make the day to day lives of their workers, clients, and customers better. Now, they are debuting their own commuter service, which joins the ranks of other major tech companies that offer private shuttles as a perk to employees to help ward off traffic congestion.
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"Amazon Ride" will run six times in the morning and six times at night at 20-minute intervals. They will go into the suburban communities of Bellevue,Issaquah and Redmond to Amazon’s South Lake Union campus and the new Doppler building in the Denny Triangle. At least for now, it won't go into other neighborhoods, but this is just the start of the program and if it is a success, it will likely be expanded.
Amazon issued a statement about the program: “Our employees tell us that they love being in the heart of the city. In fact, more than 50% of our employees get to work without a car. We are continually looking for ways to build a more sustainable urban campus and this pilot is another opportunity to do so.”
Full-time employees, part-time employees, and their dogs are eligible for Amazon Ride. Employees will be able to reserve their seats up to two weeks in advance. They will be able to use an app starting September 30. The service also includes “Guaranteed Ride Home” coverage.
The website says they use MV Transportation, which is based in Dallas and operates the Microsoft Connector. Amazon doesn't have that level of regional commuter yet, but this will hopefully expand.
Microsoft introduced the Connector buses in 2007 for full-time employees. and it has been used by more than 268,000 people.
Amazon's success has led to problems with both housing costs and traffic jumps. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has called the company's growth "a great problem to have." Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has called Amazon's decision to develop its campus inside the city rather than within the suburbs an environmentally-friendly approach and “a very attractive feature for some of our employees.”
However, not everyone lives in the city, nor does everyone want to do that. A commuter service could expand the tech talent and make it easier for them to compete.