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Commuter Benefits

Learn about the variety of benefits to incentivize commuters to switch to a more affordable and environmentally sustainable commute mode.

Guaranteed Ride Program

Worried about getting home in an emergency? Carpools can join the free Guaranteed Ride Program. The program reimburses you fo your taxi or transit rides home when you’re stranded at Columbia or need to get somewhere for an unexpected personal or family emergency. The best part is that there’s no cost to you. It’s like an insurance policy for commuters. If you miss your carpool or vanpool due to an emergency, 511 NY Rideshare will reimburse you to get to your destination by public transit or taxi. It’s that easy.

Important Notes

  • Maximum $40 per claim, and $200 per year
  • Only for carpool or vanpool commuters
  • Available to anyone who lives or works in New York state.
  • Keep your receipt for reimbursement.
  • Ensure that your carpooling partner(s) is enrolled as well. 

Contact 511NY Rideshare to enroll in the program. Call 5-1-1 and say "rideshare" or email your request to info@511nyrideshare.org

The Guaranteed Ride Home Program is intended for anyone who lives or works in New York State.

Learn more about the Guaranteed Ride Program.

List your ride or find a carpool partner

This service is provided by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Tax Incentives

When you commute by transit or pay for parking for your commute, you can save money by lowering your taxable income through enrolling in these tax benefits. Employees save money when they put aside pre-tax, paycheck dollars that are for transit and/or parking expenses that are associated with their commute.

The table below shows the maximum monthly allowable amount for transit and parking expenses.

Reimbursement Type

Maximum monthly allowable amount

Example of Qualified Expanses

Transit

$255

Train, Bus, Subway, Ferry, Vanpool, etc.

Parking

$255

Parking near where you work or board mass transit

Calculate your savings.

How It Works

These dollars are taken out of your Columbia paycheck before income tax is applied to your income. This lowers the amount of tax you pay on your income, saving you money.

How to Enroll

Log onto myColumbia portal and enter how much you want to set aside each month for transit and/or parking. For example, if your monthly subway expense is $116, put aside $116 per month.

Once enrolled, the University’s selected administrator, EBPA, will mail you a debit card that you can use to pay for these qualified expenses. So if you commute by subway, use this debit card to refill your subway card at the station. Unused funds carry over from month to month.

Note: If you park at a Columbia parking space, your contributions will already be taken out of your paycheck on a pre-tax basis.

Read more from the IRS.

NJ TRANSIT Monthly Pass Student Discount Program

Columbia University has partnered with NJ TRANSIT to offer full-time undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to purchase a bus, rail, or light rail monthly pass at 25 percent off the regular monthly pass price. Enroll through NJ Transit's Quik-Tik program to take advantage of this offer.

General Information

Quik-Tik offers the convenience of auto-pay combined with online account management. You will receive your student monthly pass directly through the mail and your credit card will be automatically billed. Quik-Tik replaces NJ Transit's former paper application process as the method for enrollment in the student discount program.

Important things to remember:

  • You must sign up by the 10th of the month to receive your monthly pass for the travel in the next month. (Enrollment must be completed on or before the 10th of the previous month to receive the pass for the next month.)
  • A non-refundable $3 processing fee will be applied each month, in addition to the fare for the pass.
  • After you enroll for Quik-Tik, you will receive a new monthly pass in the mail each and every month unless you choose to suspend your account.
  • If you choose to suspend your monthly pass (winter or summer break), you will need to reactivate your account once again through our secure Columbia University website (this will verify enrollment).
  • Students who participate in this program agree that the monthly pass is for their exclusive use only. Each student is eligible to receive one discounted monthly pass per month. Passes are non-transferable. Any abuse or purposeful deception will result in the cancellation of the student's monthly pass account, and (s)he will be unable to participate in the program in the future. This will also apply to any other student who is knowingly involved.

New Users: Set Up Your Quik-Tik Account

Getting started is easy. To initially sign up, you must login through the secure CU access link. Your full-time student status will be verified electronically to NJ TRANSIT. When you sign up, the price of the monthly pass you order will automatically reflect the 25 percent student discount. During your enrollment, you will create a "Quik-Tik user name and password," so you can view or manage your account directly from the NJ TRANSIT Quik-Tik login without entering from our university site. To contact Quik-Tik directly, please call 1-866-QUIK-TIK.

Existing Quik-Tik Members

If you are an existing Student Quik-Tik customer, all you need to do is reactivate your account. Here's how:

  • Log into to CU's NJ TRANSIT Student Discount monthly pass page
  • Enter required information (student pin, user ID, etc.), and you will be taken the NJ TRANSIT's Quik-Tik main page. Enter requested information.
  • You are now at the "Account Summary" page. Scroll to the bottom to see your status information.
  • Click on "Change Status."
  • Click on "Reactivate previously suspended monthly pass mailing" and click on the submit button.

After your account is reactivated, you will again receive monthly passes each month on an automatic basis until next May. You must enter Quik-Tik from CU’s NJ TRANSIT website to reactivate your account.

If you have any questions regarding reactivating your account, please contact Quik-Tik at 1-866-QUIK-TIK.

Reduced Tolls for Carpools

With three or more people in your car, you can receive reduced tolls at all NY-NJ state-line crossings, Staten Island crossings and the Tappan Zee Bridge.

All NY-NJ State-Line Crossings

Tolls are $6.50 with 3 or more people in your car at all NY-NJ state-line crossings. That’s a saving of $6 each day from a peak hour price. This incentive applies to:

  • George Washington Bridge
  • Lincoln Tunnel
  • Holland Tunnel
  • Bayonne Bridge
  • Goethals Bridge
  • Outerbridge Crossing   

Tappan Zee Bridge Carpool Commuter Plan

3+ occupants in the vehicle. Review rates and enroll in carpool plans through E-ZPass New York.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

MTA Staten Island Resident Program: Receive a discount at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for passenger vehicles with three or more occupants.

Learn more about the Staten Island Resident Program

Get started by filling out this form

List your ride or find a carpool partner

Green Passes for Low-Emission Vehicles

Tolls cost $7 for low-emission vehicles during off-peak hours on all NY-NJ state-line crossings.

Thruway Green Pass Discount Plan: Receive 10 percent discount on all Thruway facilities for Hybrid specific emissions outlined on the Thruway Authority's website.

All Green Passes for low-emission vehicles can be arranged by contacting E-ZPass New York online or by phone at 1-800-333-TOLL.

HOV Carpool Lanes in NYC

New York City's high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes provide a faster option for drivers with passengers. HOV lanes make our roadways more efficient, incentivize people to carpool and reduce traffic congestion and harmful emissions.

Access HOV lanes:

  • Long Island Expressway HOV-3 Lane Into Queens-Midtown Tunnel
  • Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel HOV-3 Lane on Gowanus Expressway
  • Queensboro Bridge Manhattan-Bound HOV-2 Lane

List your ride or find a carpool partner

Park & Rides

Park your car outside the City and travel in on a bus. Or park your car and travel in with a co-worker. Park & Rides are most often conveniently located near entry/exit ramps of major highways.

Find your nearest Park & Ride here: