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To soften the blow to the bank accounts of harried commuters, Uber partnered with employee benefits administrator WageWorks in August to allow riders in New York City to pay for UberPool rides using pre-tax income.
The partnership has since expanded to Boston and Washington, D.C, and beginning tomorrow, commuters in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta, Miami and the state of New Jersey will be able to take advantage of this penny-pinching opportunity — provided they are already enrolled in WageWorks commuter benefits through their employer.
“The expansion of this partnership is a result of the success we saw in New York, and we’re excited to continue to make our riders’ commutes even easier in more U.S. cities,” UberPOOL Product Manager Ronak Trivedi said in a press release. “By allowing our riders to use pre-tax benefits to pay for their uberPOOL commute, we’re continuing to get people in fewer cars, while making their daily commutes more affordable.”
WageWorks works with approximately 58,000 employers in the U.S. to provide health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, commuter benefits and more. Employees can save up to 40 percent on commuting costs when they contribute up to $ 255 per month in pre-tax income to a WageWorks Commuter Transit Account.
While the partnership will help employees save on their commutes and employers save on payroll taxes, it’s also a smart move for Uber in its self-described quest to get “more people into fewer cars.” By offering the WageWorks benefit only to UberPool riders, Uber is minimizing the number of single-passenger vehicles on the roads.
It could work out one of the kinks of the carpool option: Many UberPool riders never encounter a fellow passenger, and this will encourage use of the service. Now, as the company helps employees across the country save money on their commutes, it just has to find more ways to account for the fact that UberPool is reportedly a rip-off for some of its drivers.