What are Commuter Benefits?

Commuter Benefits can help you control your transit and/or parking expenses while saving you money. If your commute to work is via bus, light rail, streetcar, vanpool, trolley, subway or ferry, or you have to pay for parking, Commuter Benefits may be right for you.

Here’s how it works: You set aside money in an account before you pay taxes on it. When you set aside money in a Commuter Benefits account, you lower the amount of income the government will tax, so you pay fewer taxes each year. 

Types of Commuter Benefits Available

Your employer’s Commuter Benefits may allow for any or all of the following (please check with your employer as to which options are available to you):

Qualified Transit

Qualified Transit includes mass transit, including passes, tokens, fare cards or similar items entitling you to ride a mass transit vehicle to or from work. The mass transit vehicle may be publicly or privately operated and includes bus, rail or ferry. Qualified Transit also includes van-pooling fees in a commuter highway vehicle with a seating capacity of at least six adults, excluding the driver.

Qualified Parking

Qualified Parking includes parking fees at/near your place of work or at/near a location from which you commute to work by car pool, commuter highway vehicle or mass transit.

For more information on eligible expenses, see our frequently asked questions

Increase Your Take-Home Pay

Paying fewer taxes means you keep more of the money you make. In the example, Jane estimates she will spend $4,380 on commuter expenses for herself during one year. See how she can save with a Commuter Benefits account.

Jane's Income/Expenses With Commuter Without Commuter
Jane's Annual Income $50,000 $50,000
Pre-Tax Contributions
(up to $130 for Transit, $250 for Parking per month)
4,380 0
Jane's Taxable Income $45,620 $50,000
Taxes 6,405 7,500
Jane's Take-Home Pay $39,215 $42,500
Out-of-Pocket Commuter Expenses 0 4,380
Jame's Spendable Income $39,215 $38,120
Jane's Savings Each Year $1,095  

 The savings amounts in the example are provided by Surency for illustrative purposes only. You may save more or less based on your own tax situation. Some states do not recognize these tax exclusions for this program. No part of this website is tax, financial or legal advice. You should consult your own legal and tax advisors regarding your personal situation and whether this is the right program for you.

Maximum Elections in 2021

  • Up to $270 per month for Qualified Transit Expense
  • Up to $270 per month for Qualified Parking Expense
  • Qualified Transit and Qualified Parking expenses may be combined.

How Does It Work?

Participating in a Surency Flex Commuter Benefits plan is easy.

  1. Once you’ve enrolled and set your election amount, that amount will be automatically deducted from your paycheck throughout the year before you pay federal, state and FICA taxes on the designated amount.
  2. When you are ready to use the money in your Commuter Benefits account for a qualified transit expense, just swipe your Surency Flex Benefits Card when purchasing fare cards or parking. If the Transit Authority or your parking lot does not accept your Surency Flex Benefits Card, you can pay upfront and file a claim electronically from the Member Account or Surency Flex Mobile App. You will be reimbursed with money from your Commuter Benefits account, as long as you have funds available.
  3. To avoid losing money, make sure you file claims within 180 days of incurring the expense. 

Smart Commute


Whether you take the train, bus, subway, ferries, UberPOOL, Lyft Shared, or a combination of these transit options to get to work, these costs are eligible commuter benefits expenses (which means that no matter how they get to work, you can save money by using your commuter benefits).


If you commute with your own vehicle, you can take advantage of your commuter benefits by using them to pay for parking at or near their regular place of employment, use SpotHero to reserve or pre-pay parking spots in select cities, or take advantage of park and ride facilities (if available). 

See how it works in your city

Whether you’re located in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., see how our Commuter Benefits solution can work in your city. Click on a city to learn more!