Philadelphia is leading the way in providing transit benefits to employees

At jawnt, we believe in the transformative power of transit benefits for employees. Improving the ease with which people get to work provides access to more and better employment. And employer subsidies can help with return to office plans and employer NPS.

Which is why we could barely maintain our excitement when we saw that councilwoman Helen Gym’s Commuter Benefits bill was passed through Philadelphia City Council. The bill, introduced in April and passed on June 10th, requires employers of 50+ employees to provide commuter benefits. Employers can provide this benefit either a) as a pre-tax benefit or b) provide pre-paid passes to their employees. The benefit could be used for services considered in IRS Code 132(f) (if bored, you can read here), which includes  (among others) bus, train, subway, and employee-owned bicycle maintenance and storage. Philadelphia is at the vanguard of cities mandating this invaluable benefit for employees. The pre-tax benefits for transit alone can add up to almost $1,000 / year for employees. Cash back in their pockets for the things that matter most.

For the front-line and shift-based workers that got us through the pandemic, this is long overdue. For office employees who got comfortable working from home and are now being forced to swap their gym shorts for trousers, the commute to the office is one of the least desirable parts about going back to work. We at jawnt believe the onus is on employers to help employees make sense of the ‘new normal.’ Free coffee only goes so far - transit is much more valuable.

The timing of this legislation also aligns with SEPTA’s full launch of the Key Advantage program for employers. When an employer signs up for Key Advantage, they provide transit to all of their eligible employees, but benefit from a highly competitive price point - as much as an 80% discount from the standard fare price. We at jawnt are working with SEPTA to bring this product out of pilot phase and are super excited for what it means for transit in Philadelphia. The feedback from riders in the pilot program has been outstanding.

This bill has so many benefits - the opportunity to do well by employees, the opening to reduce reliance on cars / parking, the ability to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the chance to re-engage with downtown…the list goes on. We’re grateful to Helen Gym, OTIS Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia City Council for championing this bill forward. Our home city and the people in it will all be better because of it.

If you are a business that operates in Philadelphia and will be impacted by the commuter benefit bill, we can help you navigate it.

Get started with jawnt – our platform will help you meet the new mandate's requirements and provide a better transit benefit for your entire organization.

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Photo by ActionVance via Unsplash