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A New Way to Commute





The Gateway Initiative, a workforce development and pro-business advocacy effort led by the South Baldwin and Coastal Alabama Chambers of Commerce, is excited to see its efforts) come to fruition. In the fall of 2021, the Gateway Initiative team explored ride-sharing programs for Baldwin County as part of the Workforce Training Campus research initiated earlier that year. After consulting with the Baldwin Regional Area Transit System (BRATS) and learning about their fleet van shortages, the Gateway Initiative identified ride-sharing as a potential solution. They then introduced the director of BRATS to Commute with Enterprise.


Enterprise Holdings, which manages the largest and most diverse privately-owned fleet in the world, launched Commute with Enterprise back in 2018. This enhanced service of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand offers one of today’s most sustainable, comprehensive, and cost-effective local transportation solutions. It works much like a carpool, but they provide a recent-model SUV or van and liability protection, so employers and riders can count on a smooth and reliable commute. 


As published in the April 2024 Press Release, the Baldwin County Commission’s communication specialist Taylor Buffkin states, ”BRATS currently provides approximately 400 public transportation rides a day, but with increased demand on the popular system and constraints on vehicle availability and drivers, the Baldwin County Commission chose to work with Commute with Enterprise to bring their expertise, scalability, and professionalism to the Baldwin County area to further encourage the use of public transit to reduce traffic congestion, fuel emissions, and commute expenses.”


The vanpool program will be partially subsidized by the Baldwin County Commission using local and federal grant funds. The remaining cost is split among the employer and/or participants, with each vanpool rider paying a set fee per month. Enterprise will provide coordination services and technology, vehicles, liability insurance, scheduled vehicle maintenance, and 24-hour roadside assistance.


“The Gateway Initiative has helped Commute with Enterprise foster this important relationship with the local transit agency (BRATS) that brings such important and positive change in the community to help get people back to work and improve the quality of the environment, which is especially important in this area. They have been key in making introductions to other businesses and Gateway Investors in the area with transportation needs for their employees,” said sales executive Gracie Toler, with Enterprise.  


The Gateway Initiative's collaboration with BRATS and Commute with Enterprise marks a significant milestone in enhancing Baldwin County's transportation infrastructure. By addressing fleet shortages and providing sustainable, reliable commuting options, this partnership aims to meet the growing demand for public transit. The vanpool program, supported by local and federal funding, will offer cost-effective transportation solutions while reducing traffic congestion and environmental impact. This initiative not only facilitates workforce mobility but also fosters a positive community change, demonstrating the power of strategic partnerships in driving regional development.


Please contact a member of the Gateway Initiative team, or reach out to Gracie Toler directly at Gracie.J.Toler@em.com for more information. 



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