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Administrator Christie Whitman Visits Wyeth BioPharma in Andover to Celebrate EPA's Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative

Release Date: 05/31/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today visited the Andover campus of Wyeth BioPharma, one of the newest and largest participants in EPA's national Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative.

Wyeth BioPharma, which employs over 2,400 people in Andover, offers one of the most generous commuter benefit packages in Massachusetts – benefits that, in turn, reduce air and global warming pollution, reduce traffic congestion, and save employees money. The benefits include free commuter rail and MBTA passes, free door-to-door shuttle service from employee homes to work for four neighboring towns, a progressive carpool program including preferred parking, and subsidized express buses that run four round trips daily from New Hampshire park-and-rides to the Wyeth campus in Andover.

Launched in mid-April, Wyeth's new express bus service is the first ever cross-state collaboration between New Hampshire and Massachusetts for transportation direct to an employee campus. In addition to providing facilities for bicycle and walking commuters (e.g. showers), the growing biopharmaceutical company also offers flex-time and other conveniences on-site, including work-out facilities, dry cleaning and two cafeterias.

"You should be proud that your company is a national leader in this voluntary partnership effort to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion," said Whitman, speaking to Wyeth employees this afternoon. "Here at Wyeth BioPharma, you and your fellow employees are offered one of the most generous commuter benefits packages in Massachusetts. From free commuter and transit passes to progressive car pooling policies, you are leading the way on the road to less congested roads and cleaner air."

"From the development and manufacture of lifesaving medicines to reducing single-occupancy vehicles through commuter initiatives, we are committed to health and the environment," said Chris Perley, managing director of Wyeth BioPharma, Andover. "Automobile emissions are one of the greatest single sources of pollution and promoting commuter benefits is a key means to improving the environment and the air we breathe. We're honored to be recognized by Gov. Whitman as a Commuter Choice Employer. We hope our commitment will motivate other employers to join; it makes sense from a business perspective and also for the health of our communities."

Wyeth is one of 17 companies and organizations in New England, including Harvard University in Cambridge, that have joined the Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative (CCLI) in the past two months. The participating facilities employ more than 20,000 workers.

Employers joining the program agree to provide multiple commuter benefits, such as transit subsidies, flex-time, vanpools, shuttle service to transit stations, bicycle facilities, ride-sharing, and a guaranteed ride home in case of an emergency.

"Commuter Choice programs are popping up all across New England and the strongest commuter benefits package we've seen so far – hands down – is Wyeth BioPharma's," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator at EPA's New England Office. "The company offers its thousands of employees among the most generous sets of commuter benefits we've seen anywhere, including 100 percent subsidized commuter rail and MBTA passes, free door-to-door shuttle service from employee homes to work in four neighboring towns and an innovative cross-state express bus from New Hampshire."

Launched last year, CCLI is a joint EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation Program that provides tools, guidance, public recognition and other incentives to help U.S. employers of any size incorporate commuter benefits into their standard benefits plan. Participating companies earn the designation "Commuter Choice Employer," a mark of excellence for environmentally and employee-friendly organizations.

According to census data released last week, more Massachusetts commuters drove alone to work in the 1990s and commute times increased from roughly 45 minutes per day to nearly one hour. The number of people who drove alone to work is up from 72 percent statewide in 1990 to 74 percent statewide in 2000. EPA's Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative can help other companies develop and promote commuter alternatives that reduce ride-alone commuting, resulting in decreased air pollution, fuel savings and reduced traffic congestion.

To date, almost 300 employers across the country have volunteered to participate in CCLI, providing benefits to over 500,000 commuters. These employers represent the full spectrum of the American workforce – from large corporations with nearly 40,000 employees to small businesses with five employees.