Getting people out of their cars is a huge part of how a company can reduce its environmental footprint. That’s why Microsoft introduced The Connector five years ago. The Connector is a shuttle service for Puget Sound-based Microsoft employees that now has 22 routes throughout metropolitan Seattle. The service allows our employees to find a dependable way to get to work that gets them out of traffic and out of their cars, while providing perks like a guaranteed seat and wi-fi to get work done during their commute.
Since the first 13 buses ran their routes in 2007, The Connector service has grown to include 74 buses and is on pace to surpass 700,000 annual rides this year. That’s an elevenfold increase since it started! The 22 routes service neighborhoods throughout the city of Seattle as well as suburban communities closer to Redmond. Of the roughly 19,000 employees that have used the service since its launch, 60 percent drove by themselves before riding The Connector. That has helped Microsoft eliminate 40.5 million miles of travel and more than 17,237 metric tons of carbon.
In addition to emissions reduced since we began The Connector service that otherwise would have been generated from single occupancy vehicles, Microsoft remains committed to reducing carbon emissions throughout our operations. Microsoft’s internal carbon fee, which went into effect in July, levies an additional fee on carbon emissions from our facilities, travel, software labs and data centers in over 100 countries where Microsoft does business.
The Connector and the internal carbon fee both reflect a broader commitment to environmental responsibility. As a company we believe it’s important to reduce our footprint as much as possible while enabling employees to reduce their own footprint as well. The Connector is one small step in that direction, but it’s also one that thousands of our employees encounter every day.
You can check out a tour that features the Microsoft Connector here.
image: Sam Kim via Flickr cc (some rights reserved)
This post first appeared on Microsoft's Software Enabled Earth blog.