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Bus rides are free for today

Hall advocates saving gas in ‘Dump the Pump’ effort

POSTED: June 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Leave the car at home and hop on the Red Rabbit for free today for the third annual "Dump the Pump" day.

The national event, hosted by the American Public Transportation Association, urges people to become familiar with their local public transportation in an effort to save fuel, money, time and the environment.

"There are literally hundreds of organizations throughout the country that are participating," said Phillipa Moss, director of the Community Service Center.

This year, Hall Area Transit is expanding efforts to attract more people to the Red Rabbit by distributing free ride tickets to not only Hall County and Gainesville employees like they did last year, but to other employers located along bus routes, Crow said. "We’re doing a little more this year. We’re trying to distribute along the route and see how many folks would let us leave (free ride vouchers) there." Crow said. "We’re targeting areas we think might be open to it."

Businesses along bus routes include Northeast Georgia Medical Center, J&J Foods, Wal-Mart, Target and Lakeshore Mall.

"We think it’s a really great idea, because it’s a free ride for people who normally ride, so it’s an extra bonus. But for people who may not ordinarily ride The Red Rabbit, it’s an excuse to get on the bus and to save some gasoline, save some fuel and simply do something different," Moss said. "And sometimes you just need an invitation to do something different, and this is what that is."

Moss said some buses also may offer riders free gifts, such as tote bags and calendars. They will be given out at
random.

Another service the Red Rabbit offers is a travel trainer. A travel trainer is someone who shows new riders how to navigate the bus system.

Interested riders can call Margie Watson, the Red Rabbit travel trainer, to schedule an appointment at 770-503-3333. She will begin scheduling appointments June 23.

Each year public transportation households save more than $1,399 worth of gas. And since 1995 public transportation ridership has increased 32 percent, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Moss said ridership has been increasing all year and she expects to see a spike in ridership today for "Dump the Pump."

And with gas prices continuing to rise, today may be a good time to try out public transportation.

AAA reported Wednesday the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Georgia climbed one-tenths of a cent to $4.00 a gallon. The national average is $4.07.



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