Castello di Amorosa launched a ride sharing program in August and has seen the program succeed beyond expectations, a spokesman said.
About 30 castle employees have taken advantage of this program and are carpooling, cycling, walking or taking the bus to work. In this program, drivers and passengers are incentivized with cash payments by the winery of $5 per round trip per passenger if there is less than a 15-mile commute and $10 per round trip per passenger for distances greater than 15 miles.
“We are delighted to be doing our part in cutting down on traffic and pollution,” said Dario Sattui, winery founder. “We see this program growing at a great pace in the near future, and we’re honored to be a leader in our community to make this a worthwhile project both for our employees, local citizens and ‘Mother Nature,’” he added.
Napa County studied local traffic patterns over the last several years and, in broad terms, determined that most of the traffic is caused by locals — not tourists — people who work here but live somewhere else.
“There are many factors — such as the lack of affordable housing — which cause the traffic which we all are noticing,” Sattui said. “If other wineries follow our lead and incentivize their employees to share their rides and take public transportation, we may be able to see a difference in a relatively short period of time,” he said.
The Calistoga Chamber of Commerce launched the Employee Shuttle Program (ESP) in June, but suspended it in early August due to lack of participation even after the program was offered for free to employees.
The ESP started out as a cost-sharing program between the city’s participating employers and their respective employees, with multiple shuttles running in the morning and late afternoon to early evening between Calistoga and two locations in Santa Rosa.
The program was designed to entice more Santa Rosa residents to work in Calistoga where restaurants and hotels are finding it increasingly difficult to fill line-level and middle management positions.
In the County’s study (http://www.nvta.ca.gov/travel-behavior-study), tourists accounted for 21 percent of the County’s traffic. The study estimated that 9 percent of traffic is passing through the county.