Smith's Opt-Out Program pays eligible employees to travel to and from work without driving a single-occupant (SOV) vehicle, an initiative to help ease the parking demand on campus. The Opt-Out Program is a voluntary program to encourage faculty and staff to find alternate ways to commute, such as car-pooling, ridesharing, bicycling, walking and public transit.
Terms of the Program
The college offers a two-tiered payment system. Under the terms of the program, employees receive an Opt-Out payment of $150 per year for choosing to leave their car at home and live within a one mile radius from the center of campus. For those living outside of the one-mile radius, a payment of $400 will be given. Participants will also be provided with free passes that will allow 18 days of campus parking each year for those days when a car is needed.
How to Participate
Register your vehicle in person at the Campus Police Parking Office. You will be issued up to 18 free parking passes and an opt-out decal which you must affix to your car window. Forms are available on our website and in the office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to join the Opt-Out Program?
Smith College faculty and staff who own a car are eligible to join the Opt-Out Program.
How does the program work?
By joining the Opt-Out Program, you are agreeing to not bring your vehicle to Smith or surrounding streets between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (you may park on campus at any other time). Smith will pay you $150 or $400 for full participation in the program. Buying a decal is not required. Members of the Smith community who live within the one mile radius of campus and are in the Opt-Out Program may park their vehicles in their driveways or directly in front of their houses. Parking at parking meters is allowed. Parking anywhere else will be considered a violation of the Opt-Out Program. All rules apply to second and third-shift employees as well.
When can I join the program?
There are two periods for signing up: First semester, July 1 through September 15 or second semester, December 15 through February 1. Participation for only half the year will result in a $75/$200 payment.
When and how do I get my payment of $150/$400?
Once a faculty or staff member joins the Opt-Out Program, the payment will be processed by the Controller's Office and will be included in the next available pay period after each sign-up period ends. You will be paid in two installments of $75/$200. The net amount will appear on the top part of your pay stub.
What if I need to bring my car to Smith?
Each member of the Opt-Out Program will receive up to eighteen (18) One-Day Parking Passes. These passes are issued for the current fiscal year and are not transferable to the following fiscal year. If you request less than 18 passes at the time of your registration and then need more at a later date, you can come to the Campus Police Parking Office to receive additional passes.
What if I need an emergency ride home?
Smith also participates in the MassRIDES Emergency Ride Home Program. Situations that are considered "emergencies" by the ERH program include:
- unexpected personal illness/emergency
- unexpected family illness / emergency
- carpool/vanpool driver has emergency
- unexpected mandatory overtime
To register for the ERH program or obtain more information go to the MassRIDES website, www.commute.com.
What if I park my car on the streets near Smith?
Smith will check the streets around the campus and the campus proper to determine if there are Opt-Out Program cars parked in violation of the terms of the opt-out agreement. For a first violation, you will receive a written warning from the Campus Police office. On a second violation, your Opt-Out Program membership will be deactivated. You must then purchase a Smith parking decal at normal price, and will be unable to participate in the Opt-Out Program for one full academic year. (This means that your membership will be terminated for the remainder of the academic year, plus one full academic year). Program members are responsible for removing their Opt-Out decal and reimbursing Smith through payroll deduction for the remainder of the year according to the established reimbursement schedule. The reimbursement schedule is as follows:
What if I am a member of a carpool?
Carpool members are eligible to participate in the Opt-Out Program. The carpool group should decide how it will distribute the money to members within the group. The owner of the vehicle to be driven to Smith is not eligible for the Opt-Out Program; however, each employee riding with him or her would be eligible for $400 and would not have to buy a decal. For example, if three employees wished to participate, one would buy a carpool decal for $10 and the other two would get $400 each as members of the Opt-Out Program—with a net savings of $940, which can be divided among the three carpooling employees. Carpooling will save fuel, wear and tear, and be part of Smith's sustainability initiative.
MassRIDES, a service of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), also offers a NuRide program to find people going your way and at the same time earn reward points each time you take a “green trip” (like transit, bicycling, walking, or carpooling). Then, redeem those points for rewards like local and national restaurant coupons, retailer discounts and tickets to shows and attractions. To sign up, go to www.commute.com/NuRide. Carpoolers, opt-outers, bicyclists and PVTA riders can also take advantage of MassRIDES Emergency Ride Home (ERH) Program. For more information contact MassRIDES by calling 888-426-6688 (888-4COMMUTE) or visit their website.