In this post, we’ll explore the most common questions on ridesharing and commuter benefits. As you may be aware, uberPOOL and Shared Rides offer eligible services under a Commuter Benefit Plan. However, there is a twist regarding what qualifies as an eligible expense under your Commuter Benefit Plan.
Let’s start with what to do if you’re new to ridesharing and commuter benefits.
How do I find out about ridesharing and commuter benefits?
A great place to start is the BRI Commuter Resource Center. It provides you with quick access links regarding using commuter benefits. If you see your city, feel free to select it. There is also a “My City Was Not Listed” option. Look for the “Paying for Shared Rides” and “Paying for uberPOOL” topics.
Can I use my Beniversal / eTRAC Card to pay for Shared Rides and uberPOOL?
You can generally use your Beniversal / eTRAC Card for qualifying Shared Rides and uberPOOL services. We say generally because Lyft and Uber are in control of whether or not eligible commuting services are available in a certain city or market. Additionally, in order to qualify as a commuter benefit, the rides must be provided in a qualifying vehicle.
What is a “qualifying vehicle” through Shared Rides and uberPOOL?
The rules regarding commuter benefits specify that vehicles must allow for 6 or more passengers to qualify as an eligible commuting vehicle. Therefore, a simple carpool with 4 passengers does not meet this requirement and would not qualify.
Are all Shared Rides and uberPOOL services eligible expenses under my CBP?
No. If you have not registered a qualifying commuter card, such as the Beniversal or eTRAC Card, you may be routed to a 4 passenger vehicle which does not meet the requirements for an eligible expense. Additionally, certain markets may offer Shared Rides and uberPOOL services which do not qualify for the purposes of commuter benefits.
Do Lyft and Uber rides count as eligible expenses under my CBP?
No. Your card will not work for regular Lyft and Uber rides. It will only work when you select a qualified or eligible ride from Shared Rides or uberPOOL. To clarify, if you use Lyft or Uber to get to work, the Lyft or Uber app will pull funds from an alternative payment source and will not use funds from your commuter benefit account. Your commuter benefit card will only pay for the ride if you select a (qualified) Shared Rides or uberPOOL ride.
How quickly are eligible rides available?
You may find that you need to wait a little longer for a pick-up when compared to general Lyft and Uber services. Since you can only be presented with eligible vehicles, the number of potential vehicles will be lower. If you are traveling during peak commuting times, you are more likely to see a higher number of eligible vehicles available. However, you may also want to consider scheduling your pick-up to ensure availability within a shorter window of time.
How do I set up my Card as the automatic source of payment for Shared Rides/ uberPOOL?
Go to the Uber or Lyft app and input the information from your Beniversal or eTRAC card (card number, expiration date, CVV) in the Payment section of the app.
Note: For verification purposes, make sure the address you list in the app matches the address on file with Benefit Resource.
Can I alternate my commuting options with mass transit and ridesharing?
Yes. Benefit Resource allows you the flexibility to choose how you want to use your commuting dollars. Your commuter benefit funds are loaded to the Beniversal / eTRAC card. You then choose how to use those dollars. You can vary it from month to month, week to week, or even day to day. At the end of the month, any unused funds automatically roll over to the next month and continue to be available.
Can I use Shared Rides and uberPOOL services with a group of my friends?
No. Shared Rides and uberPOOL are intended for commuting and will not permit you to have more than one additional rider at pick-up. You will need to use the regular Lyft and Uber services for your group of friends. Make sure you’re safe when you go out.
Still have questions?
Comment below if there’s more you’d like to know about ridesharing, eligible expenses and your Beniversal Commute!