As SoCal commutes get longer, more companies offering help for workers

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Commute times are going up.

And so are alternatives to the daily grind of sitting in traffic to get to and from work.

According to the website Flexjobs there are options for workers to ditch their commutes.

"I have many family and friends that are enduring 45 minute to an hour and 45 minute commutes and it's horrendous, and definitely eats into your work time, your productivity and your overall well-being," said Julie Leonardo, executive director of Girls on the Run - a nonprofit based in North Carolina.

Leonardo works out of her home in Irvine. She is known as a telecommuter.

"Definitely as a working mom I appreciate the opportunity to have choice and prioritize my work schedule as I see fit."

But not everyone can work from home.

Caltrans - the state's transportation agency in charge of roadway maintenance, offers employees several options when it comes to getting to their work site.

"We want to get as many cars off the road as possible to improve traffic congestion," Hani Abuershaid, the Caltrans chief of health and safety and telework coordinator.

One way they are doing this is with vanpools.

Employees are given a stipend through the state to reduce their costs.

Hormuzd Sethna started the one at Caltrans 30 years ago when he began working for the agency.

"We managed to get two vanpools started and then from there right now we have blossomed into 10 to 12 with the cooperation and backing of our management."

Caltrans employee Felipe Gomez is among the workers who benefit from the program.

"In my situation I am legally blind, so I can't drive," Gomez said. "So the vanpool to me is much better than using the public transportation system. It actually reduces my commute by an hour an a half to two hours every day."

The state agency also offers flexible work schedules which they say has improved retention.

It's a trend on the rise. According to global workplace analytics 40 percent more U.S. employers now offer flexible workplace options than they did five years ago.
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