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Georgia Commute Options helps drivers find alternative ways to get around

GCO works to make commuting easier and cleaner in Georgia.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 8:36 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - As gas prices continue to rise across metro Atlanta, drivers are looking for alternative ways to travel, and one organization is making it easier to find those options.

On Wednesday, gas prices in some parts of the region reached nearly $5 per gallon. The cost to drive has gotten so bad for Lena Chambers that, instead of driving to the airport, from her home in Stone Mountain on Tuesday, she left her car at a Park and Ride in Decatur and hopped on a MARTA train.

“These gas prices are ridiculous,” Chambers said. “It may take me an hour on the train, but I save so much more money.”

Chambers isn’t alone in her sticker shock. Joel Wascher is the marketing director with Georgia Commute Options (GCO). He anticipates a lot of drivers are looking for alternative ways to get around in response to what’s happening at the pump.

“Historically, we’ve seen bumps in participation when gas prices go up and a lot of people look for an alternative when it stretches their pocketbook,” Wascher said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see more people wanting to participate in GCO.”

GCO works to make commuting easier and cleaner in Georgia. They offer a comprehensive commuter’s guide that details car/vanpooling options, public transportation, biking/walking, even teleworking opportunities – all specific to communities across metro Atlanta.

“When you sign up, you list your work and home address and then you can go in and find a ride to see all the available options,” Wascher explained. “You can send them a note and see if they’re interested in sharing a ride.”

The service, which currently has 16,000 commuters and is funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation, also approximates commute times and users can earn cash and discounts for each clean commute they take.

“There’s a ton of time and stress-savings that go into it in addition to the cost-savings,” Wascher said. “A lot of people just don’t know what’s available. So, the great thing about the GCO app, you can go in and it lists all of your available options.”

When user’s setup their profile, they indicate what types of trips they are interested in. Those wanting to carpool, or vanpool provide their work and home addresses, but Wascher said that information is not shared publicly.

“It’s just approximated to who’s in your area and you send them a note and if you’re interested you setup a place where you want to meet,” he explained. “It’s totally up to you the amount of information you want to share. People can’t zoom in and find out where exactly you live.”

For Chambers, who’s now considering carpooling to work and plans to utilize GCO, any alternative that beats spending more at the pumped is a welcomed one.

“You never know when you wake up what the [gas] price is going to be,” she said. “I am going to look into [GCO], like ASAP.”

To sign up for the GCO program or to learn more about alternative commuting options in North Georgia, click here.