The Blackberry and Commuting Sans L’Auto

To pick up where Rob left off with RIM’s Bixi program, the Blackberry maker has a few other tricks up their sleave when it comes helping their employees leave their car at home:

1. GTA Commuter Bus service – One choach (56 seats) with wifi and 110v service with pick up / drop off at two Toronto 401 car pool destinations: Trafalgar Rd  and Hurontario street

2. Guaranteed Ride Home service – A cool service where by an employee can leave the car at home knowing if something happens,

child emergency or having to stay late missing the car pool, the person has a cab ride home that’s covered by the company.  I like how this lowers the barrier to commuting.

3. Campus Bixi Bike Service – To add on to Rob’s post, RIM’s invested a fair bit into this pilot project at $40K with 250 beta participants making 1500 trips ($26 bucks a trip).


Bixi Rack Image
This rack was full of bikes


To me it shows that the company is will to take the lead to change culture, protect the community where they reside and do something for the environment even when the dollar side of the project doesn’t yet make sense.

4. Reduced Bus Fairs – This project hasn’t taken off yet as there’s no discount yet, thus no incentive to purchase. RIM’s trying to talk the Region into better corporate discounts.

5. Campus Shuttle Service – A recently launched 20 seat mini-bus that travels around RIM’s Waterloo campus ferrying 6000+ blackberry toting employees between buildings.

6.Online Carpooling Tool – A dating service for RIM car poolers that matches up employees based on destination. The tool can even match music preferences so the opera fan doesn’t get stuck with a MegaDeth fanatic (sounds like a good office dating service).

RIM does have admirable sustainability values as evident by these initiatives and their Prius driving security guards, but these programs also help RIM with their parking woes, where employees can have difficulty finding parking close to the building where they want to go.

Perhaps the coolest part of all these initiatives is the fact that RIM is willing to share these programs with others in the community. Rob and I represented Agfa HealthCare at a meeting where RIM presented their initiatives and the idea of sharing with other UW Research and Technology Park tenants. The other folks present were Communitech, OpenText, Sybase, Miller Thompson, The University of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo.


4 thoughts on “The Blackberry and Commuting Sans L’Auto

  1. It was a real eye-opener for sure. Best of all, it shook my corpo-cynicism to the core. RIM is really stepping it up on the rest of the Waterloo business community.

  2. They’ve opted not to expand on their main campus, which is mostly parking. Instead, they’ve torn out a woodlot at Westmount & Bearinger for a new building. And they’re building a new campus adjacent to farmland, at Northfield & University.

    The impact on car use of bike sharing, campus shuttles, and so on is massively outweighed by the effects of the placement of buildings and the parking subsidy for employees.

    1. Well said Michael, it did surprise me that the focus was primarily on the their Philip Street campus, however they indicated they’re considering beyond. I was impressed that RIM was moving on these initiatives without public policy mandating it. I’m hoping others in the area follow their lead and perhaps another day they will lead when it comes to land use and parking subsidies.

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