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September 24, 2015

Expedia tests shuttle buses, prizes to reduce commutes

Expedia is preparing for its move to Seattle in 2019 by testing ways to reduce commuting today at its Bellevue headquarters, including a private shuttle program similar to those run by Microsoft and other tech companies.

About half of Expedia's 3,000 workers are expected to drive alone to and from the new Seattle headquarters during rush hour. The company hopes that within 15 years of making the move it can reduce that to about 30 percent.

Starting early next year, free shuttles will take workers to and from a park-and-ride lot off state Route 520 in Redmond to the downtown Bellevue headquarters. The shuttles will be equipped with Wi-Fi.

An Expedia news release said testing this shuttle program now will help planners develop routes to the Seattle campus.

The company also announced it is providing free ORCA cards to all headquarters employees. Previously, only those who chose to forgo parking at the headquarters were eligible. The goal is to get workers to try different transportation options.

Expedia is also increasing to 50 the number of carpool/vanpool parking spaces at the headquarters garage. The new spots were previously reserved for employees who paid extra for them.

If all that isn't enough, the company plans to give prizes to commuters who use transit or carpool. Every three months, Expedia will draw five winners for travel awards up to $1,500. To be eligible, workers must not drive alone during the three months. The contest could become a quarterly affair.

To make it easier for employees, the company hired its first-ever commute coordinator, who is helping people sign-up for commute benefits and plan trips by walking, biking, transit, carpooling and vanpooling.

The coordinator will also help employees plan their future commutes to Seattle.

Expedia acquired Amgen's 41-acre campus in May for $229 million. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is designing the new campus.

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