by Jim Gildea, Fairfield CT

Governor Dannel Malloy issued a proclamation declaring that May 12th through May 16th was CT Rides Week and encouraged all solitary drivers to try alternative methods of transportation when traveling or working within the State of Connecticut – even if it was for just one day that week. Drivers were asked to take advantage of various ride sharing options including bus, train or by joining a carpool or vanpool.
By visiting  commuters were able to sign up to participate and join others who also shared a ride during CT Rides Week. As part of the week’s challenge, CT Rides was at Bigelow on Monday May 12th to kick off the week and to encourage employees to sign up registering for CT Rides. All those who signed up during this visit were eligible to enter a drawing to win a $25 gift card for Applebee’s just for Bigelow employees and then a statewide raffle of a $100 gift card. As part the second phase of our event, CT Rides was back out on Friday May 16th to close out the week. This was “Ride Your Bike to Work Day”. For all those who actually car pooled, biked, walked, used the train or bus, during the week, they were eligible for our second raffle where we raffled off as a new mountain bike. All those who participated in “Ride Your Bike to Work Day” were eligible for our raffle of bike helmets. Paul Caponera won the bike and Jim Gildea and Claudia Ardouni won the bike helmets.
The week was very successful on a number of different fronts. Nearly 20% of our employees participated in CT Rides Week and we continue to be strong partners with CTRides. More importantly, the environment and the Earth benefited. Sharing a ride can have a huge impact on Connecticut’s air quality. An individual switching a 20-mile round trip commute to public transportation can decrease annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year. Additionally, sharing a ride can afford a variety of benefits to commuters including saving money on the cost of maintaining personal vehicles and the cost of parking, providing some protection from the rising cost of fuel and a less stressful commute.