Subsidized carpool program aimed at curbing traffic in the Media City

The Burbank Transportation Management Organization has teamed up with a ride-sharing service to help reduce the number of vehicles driving through Burbank.

Since November, the transportation nonprofit has been working with Waze Carpool to offer those who work in Burbank a $2 ride to and from their job.


Julia Wean, interim director of the organization, said using the service usually costs the passenger up to 54 cents per mile and caps the trip at about $15.

To encourage Burbank's workforce to consider using the ride-sharing service, trips taken by those who work in the Media City are being subsidized by the transportation nonprofit.

Those who want to take advantage of the program, which expires on April 30, do not have to live in Burbank. The deal works, without using a special code, as long as the ride's final destination or starting point is in Burbank.

The program also benefits Waze Carpool, which is a relatively new ride-sharing app that operates in a different manner than Lyft or Uber, by attracting new users and drivers to the service.

"We're hoping this incentive will encourage more people to download the app, check it out and hopefully encourage riders that are attracted to the $2 rides [and] also bring in more drivers that haven't heard about the program before," Wean said.

Waze Carpool differs from its competitors in one important way. Instead of having a fleet of drivers who can be hailed by anyone to be driven anywhere, Waze Carpool has drivers who are on a route that would have been taken by them even if they didn't have a passenger with them, Wean said.

She added that Waze's drivers are limited to two trips a day — one to their work destination and one back home, which means there will be fewer vehicles going into and from Burbank.

It has been the Burbank Transportation Management Organization's goal to help reduce the number of vehicles commuting into and from Burbank.

David Kriske, assistant community development director of transportation for Burbank, said the city's resident nighttime population is around 105,000 to 108,000 people.

However, the daytime population swells to more than 200,000 people because of those who commute to and from work in Burbank.

"We're a very jobs-rich city with a lot of commuting in and out of the city as a result," Kriske said. "We've always had that pattern, but I think because of either the economy or the activity of our employment of the last few years, at least anecdotally, is on the rise again, it brings challenges to deal with traffic coming into the city."

Finding a solution to traffic is something that Burbank and most other cities in Southern California face, Kriske said.

Meeting the needs of the residents and those who work in Burbank is a difficult task. Kriske said the city has been looking to revamp the Burbank Bus program, which has not been as widely used as before. City officials have also been encouraging residents and the workforce to use Metrolink for their commuting needs.

He added that transportation agencies have a difficult time providing the same level of convenience that Waze Carpool, Lyft and Uber provide.


"As a region, we're still having a hard time making sure that we're putting our transit where people want to go," Kriske said.

Twitter: @acocarpio