Thursday, July 05, 2007

From this week's LEO:

Humana hearts TARC
Humana set a good example for other companies last month when it signed a deal with TARC to offer all its downtown employees free bus rides anywhere, anytime. The program covers 8,500 downtown employees and pays TARC $175,000 per year. Employees need only flash their employee ID badges to score a free ride.

But don’t expect Michael Moore to make a movie about it anytime soon. Despite the environment-, employee- and traffic-friendly niceties, Humana’s primary incentive is its inability to provide downtown parking spaces.

Humana, which is to “putting people ahead of profits” as Gov. Fletcher is to “cutting waste, fraud and abuse,” figures prominently in Moore’s “Sicko,” which has the nation talking about corporate healthcare and its deadly greed. The film specifically blames Humana, along with other insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit healthcare companies, for the nation’s Slovenia-level healthcare services. It also hopes to give a boost to HR 676, which would establish universal healthcare.

But give Humana props for getting people in the groove of public transportation. If the United States is ever going to get the carbon monkey off its back, mass transit will have to figure prominently. And one of the barriers, especially in Louisville, is getting people to think outside the SUV. Priming the pump by getting people comfortable with the bus system can’t hurt. Besides the CO2 savings, the plan should help reduce traffic jams and in some small way reduce America’s need to invade other countries and take their oil.

Although Louisville Metro, LG&E and many other companies offer incentives to ride TARC to and from work, Humana is the first to offer unlimited rides (with a company ID) anywhere, anytime, even if it’s to go see “Sicko.”

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