Sara Pennington, RideShare Program Manager, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
Your job title is TDM and Rideshare Program Manager. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
I promote alternative commuting options, particularly carpooling. RideShare also offers a Guaranteed Ride Home program for anyone taking an alternative form of transportation (carpooling, vanpooling, transit and biking) that offers you a free ride home in emergency situations. We also help coordinate Vanpools and SchoolPools.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is getting out into the community and talking with people. The most difficult part is convincing people to give carpooling a try. It’s really hard to change habits, but once you try it most people find that it’s easier than they initially thought. They really enjoy the commute savings and the break from driving every day.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Anyone is eligible to try RideShare, and we are a free service. The biggest impact an individual would probably see is the cost savings. If people have a 35 mile commute (one way) your annual commute cost is $9,703, so if you carpool you could save approximately $4850 a year.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the TJPDC?
My favorite project is probably RideShare Week. It’s a chance to raise awareness about the program and also thank the people who are carpooling and using our services.
What is a little-known fact about you?
In the last two years I have ran two half marathons at Disney World (in costume), and races at the four local Presidential homes (Jefferson, Monroe, Madison and Washington).