Boeing worker commutes 88 miles daily by ferry, vanpool
The following article is the sixth in an eight-part series produced by The Beacon on transportation in Snohomish County. The series focuses on the issues surrounding travel by plane, ferry, bus and cars or other means, as well as the local and state efforts to fix them. –Ed.
A Boeing worker who commutes 88 miles a day by ferry and vanpool to Bothell from her home on Whidbey Island is reaping the rewards.
Josefina Behymer, of Coupeville, has been named Community Transit’s Smart Commuter of the Quarter.
The Choice Connections award recognizes those in Snohomish County who go above and beyond to use smart transportation alternatives to driving alone to work and encourage co-workers to do the same.
“Josefina has been using vanpool, telework and bus for over 15 years for her 88-mile roundtrip to work, said Debbie Anderson, a Choice Connections program coordinator. “She is a great example of commitment to alternative commuting.”
Behymer is a liaison between internal buyers and engineers at Boeing’s Canyon Park offices in Bothell. She works to ensure that orders are both accurate and streamlined.
Behymer, 64, is the manager of a vanpool for six Boeing workers who commute to work.
“When we moved to the island, there was nobody we knew who commutes to Canyon Park,” Behymer said.
“I had to take it upon myself to get some information on how to be in a vanpool, and how to be a driver, and how to get a special pass that allows the vanpool to get priority loading to help us get to work on time.”
Every day, Behymer wakes up at 2:30 a.m. to get ready for work. She then drives ninemiles to the Coupeville Park & Ride to meet up with the driver of the vanpool around 5 a.m.
The two of them then pick up four more commuters at the Clinton terminal and catch the 6 a.m. ferry to Mukilteo. With the vanpool, the van gets priority loading at the ferry dock.
From Mukilteo, the van drives to Canyon Park to drop off two workers, including Behymer, and then another vanpool driver and the remaining three commuters continue about 3 miles to Boeing’s Monte Villa offices.
On the way home from work, the commute is the same, except the vanpool catches the 4 p.m. ferry at the Mukilteo terminal to Clinton, also with priority loading. Behymer gets home around 5 p.m.
“We don’t have to wait up on the hill to get on the ferry,” she said. “Sometimes if we miss it (the ferry), we have ice cream. We reward ourselves. We say, ‘Oh, forget it – let’s get some ice cream cones.’ ”
For as long as Behymer has worked for Boeing – which is about 20 years – she has chosen to use transportation alternatives to driving alone. Before she started the vanpool last year, she was riding the bus to work every day.
“I’ve been riding buses all my life,” she said. “It’s reasonably priced and it works with my schedule. It’s my choice [in response to] the economy, and I like doing my job.”
Though she admits she’s had some ups and downs with the vanpool – the van has gotten a few flat tires and there was an issue with the brakes once – Behymer said the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
“The rest of it is smooth going to and from work,” she said. “You don’t use your personal car, you have a van that is readily available, you are first load priority and you get home and to work on time.”
Instead of driving, Behymer likes that she gets to chat with her fellow vanpoolers, nap, read a magazine or book, or attend web conferences on the way to or from work.
With a vanpool, she also doesn’t have to pay to park in the commuter lot in Mukilteo and wouldn’t rely on a parking garage if one was built next to the new ferry terminal that’s in the works.
She only drives her vehicle 18 miles daily between her home and the park-and-ride. A tank of gas will last her about a month, and she doesn’t have to put her vehicle through the wear and tear of an 88-mile roundtrip every day.
Behymer was recognized at the Smart Commuter Awards Luncheon held in April.
“I was so grateful for it,” she said of the award. “I thought I did the best I could do, but I’m honored at the same time. I’m lucky I was chosen. Every one of us works hard. Hundreds of commuters do, too. We put in our time and effort to reduce traffic congestion.”
As the winner, Behymer received the top prize of $250 to go toward her commute in the form of a gas card or transportation voucher. She also gets to have her photo on an exterior bus ad, on posters at Boeing and on the Community Transit website.
In addition, Behymer has been nominated for the Smart Commuter of the Year.
Choice Connections rewards commuters, including the chance to win up to $250 per quarter, for choosing an alternative to driving alone and offers the tools and resources needed to get started.
But Anderson said the program isn’t just about the rewards – there are also many benefits. When you choose a smart commute, she said, your efforts reduce traffic, save money and time, and help the environment.
“By vanpooling, riding the bus and teleworking, Josefina saves money on gas, saves time with priority vanpool loading at the ferry dock and HOV lane travel, and is reducing her stress from not having to drive,” Anderson said.
“At the same time, she is providing a public benefit by reducing her contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.”
Smart commutes aren’t just about vanpooling – it includes commuting by bus, carpool, bicycling, walking, teleworking and working a compressed work week.
To learn more about the Choice Connections program, visit www.communitytransit.org/ChoiceConnections.