U.Va. Offers Employees Transportation and Schedule Alternatives

June 13, 2008 — The University of Virginia has issued a memo to supervisors and managers encouraging the consideration of practices to help U.Va. employees cope with rising fuel costs.

In the memo issued Friday, Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officers, wrote that “the institution should make every effort to accommodate requests for alternative work schedules to reduce the commuting costs of employees.”

Gasoline prices in Charlottesville moved above the $4-per-gallon mark earlier this week.

Sandridge’s memo cited several ways in which alternative work schedules might be made available, provided that the changes did not jeopardize the University’s operations. These alternatives include flexible work hours that could permit carpooling and ridesharing as well as allow drivers to avoid peak-hour traffic; schedule changes that spread the hours worked over four days in order to eliminate commuting one day a week; and telecommuting either full-time or for specific days or hours.

“It will be important to be open-minded about the possibilities where flexible schedules might work,” Sandridge wrote. “I realize that the type of work done by certain employees will not lend itself to these types of working arrangements, and for others these arrangements might only be possible in certain seasons or at certain times in the academic calendar. It may be wise to begin with a pilot program, and the summer may provide an ideal opportunity to start. “

In addition, Sandridge reminded the managers and supervisors of various transportation alternatives already being made available to U.Va. employees. These include free passes on both Charlottesville and University bus systems, occasional parker permits for employees who need to drive only occasionally, and the many regional transportation alternatives that are listed at the Transportation Demand Web site operated by Parking & Transportation.
Many regional transportation alternatives along with other helpful links about biking, walking, commuter costs, ride sharing, etc. can be found at Parking & Transportation's Transportation Demand management

University Parking & Transportation is planning to offer comprehensive carpool and vanpool incentives later this summer. The incentives will be designed to encourage employees to choose alternatives to commuting in a single-occupancy vehicle.

"Overall, each department is the best judge of what schedules are reasonable to fulfill its ongoing business needs," Sandridge concluded in his memo.  "The Medical Center will be providing additional information to employees relating to patient care responsibilities. While each department has different staff needs, I hope that you will do your best to identify opportunities to assist our employees wherever possible.”