With Generation Y containing a growing number of individuals who do not have driver’s licenses or their own vehicles, carpooling options such as those offered at HitPoint Studios in western Massachusetts could become the new go-to option for many companies in the future.
After relocating their offices approximately 20 miles from Amherst, Massachusetts, to Springfield thanks to receiving $1.25 million from local investors, the modern, independent game company found ways to cater to their young, 25- to 30-year-old, employees who had traveling needs.
HitPoint is finding creative solutions to a rising trend amongst Gen Y-ers. Reuters reported that “from 2001 to 2009, the average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by people ages 16-34 dropped 23 percent, from 10,300 to 7,900. Gen Y-ers, also known as Millennials, tend to ride bicycles, take public transit and rely on virtual media.”
HitPoint owners Paul Hake and Aaron St. John wanted to be able to keep their employees with traveling concerns working at the company.
“Essentially, we will give a monthly stipend to employees that do not require a parking pass in a Springfield garage. We have five employees that qualify – one walks in, the other takes a bus in two days a week (he works remotely the other three days), and three actively carpool with other employees,” Operations/HR Director Christina Gay explained.
According to employees Nick Clover-Brown and Constance Hildreth, who both utilize the company’s feature due to a lack of license and a vehicle, respectively, it was Gay’s idea to have the program, and provide those employees who needed it with the stipend. However, since she does not use it herself, Gay does not facilitate or manage the carpooling program. The management of the system is left up to the employees.
“While I’m not the only one working to keep the carpool running smoothly, I probably have more of a hand in managing it than others,” Hildreth said. “I set up the Google sheet we use for scheduling and do a lot of the planning.”
Taking it upon themselves to have an organized system, the carpooling employees have worked everything out together.
“[Generally it is the] three of us who regularly don’t have a means to get into work, though every once in a while we have an additional rider due to car trouble, or [something else]. Everyone who does not need a parking permit receives a stipend, which we distribute to the people who regularly drive us in, based on the number of rides they give us,” Hildreth explained.
“It’s pretty informal,” Clover-Brown added. “Some drivers and some passengers got together and figured out the schedule, [and] the drivers pick [us] up at [our homes].”
Both employees also agreed that the carpool is a very beneficial option to have available.
“If I wasn’t using a carpool, I wouldn’t have any way to get to work. There’s no feasible public transport from [where I am] to Springfield,” Clover-Brown said.
Hildreth added, “Of course my main concern is that I’m able to get to work, but it’s also been a way to get to know people that I don’t interact with much during the work day. It makes me feel more attached to the company.”
Steph Elizondo is an intern at Lioness. The 21-year-old Western New England University (WNEU) junior is an English-Literature major. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine at WNEU, as well as a staff writer for the school’s newspaper. She enjoys writing stories and poetry creatively, as well as essays and articles professionally. She hopes to become a professional writer and editor.
Photo Courtesy of zenjazzygeek [FLICKR]