Covering Employee Transit Costs with HOP

This month, Trillium started covering the all public transit costs for our employees. As a company that is always working to make public transit easier to use, we are excited to offer this benefit to our team.

Costs like this at a small company are tough. Even though we wanted to do this for a while, covering transit costs didn’t become a possibility until Trimet, Portland Streetcar, and C-Tran recently introduced the HOP pass.

Before HOP, riders had to purchase individual tickets or purchase a monthly pass. Monthly passes are for commuters who use Trimet every day to get to and from work. Since many Trillium employees work remotely much of the time, providing monthly passes didn’t make sense for us. We would have been substantially overpaying compared to the use.

On the other hand, keeping track of individual ticket stubs wasn’t a viable option either. The administrative time required to sort through a month worth of tickets for each of our employees was enough to make the option impractical. Additionally, we would have been asking employees to keep track of dozens of small slips of paper and provide them at the end of each month. This approach seemed like more of a headache than a benefit.

Trimet’s HOP system addresses all of these issues. To use HOP, riders add money to their HOP card and then “tap” the card each time they board. The first time the user taps, the price of a single ticket is deducted. If they tap again later in the day after that ticket has expired, they are charged again and “earn” a day pass. Additional taps serve as proof of fare, but do not charge the rider. This means that a rider will never get charged more than the cost of a day pass in a single day.

The same approach applies to month passes. If a rider earns enough day passes, they then earn a monthly pass. This means the rider never pays more than the cost of a monthly pass in a month.

Additionally, the HOP system accounts for fluctuations in riding month to month. For example, many employees take substantial vacation over the holidays so even if they normally would earn a month pass, they may not in December.

The HOP pass is a great system for employers looking to cover transit costs. Thank you to our local public transit agencies for coming up with an easy system that helps riders save money and finally made it possible for us to provide this benefit to our employees. We hope it will encourage other employers to do the same.

Thomas brings to Trillium 8 years of experience in small business consulting and management, expertise in financial analysis and modeling, and a dedication to the creation of processes that serve our clients efficiently and effectively. He specializes in project management and business process development, leading Trillium's website projects, consulting with agencies on marketing content, and integrating technology systems into agency business processes. During his tenure at Trillium since 2013, Thomas has led many of Trillium's largest projects including our statewide contracts with Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa. His ability to manage resources and maintain project schedules has been demonstrated in projects as diverse as multi-agency GTFS deployments focused on efficiency and cost management, as well as custom and experimental software development. By working directly with decision makers as well as client staff members, Thomas focuses on providing a project structure that ensures all stakeholders are heard and provide their input into project outcomes. Thomas grew up in Portland, Oregon, and has been biking and riding TriMet as his primary forms of transportation since age 16. He is an avid gardener, learning to love shade-tolerant plants since moving into a house surrounded by large trees. Prior to working at Trillium, he researched and designed a portfolio of private equity investments in Ghana, and developed over a hundred financial models for businesses ranging in annual revenues from $100K to $100M.