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Hall offers transportation at no cost for Dump the Pump Day
Toya Rodriguez holds Anthony De Paz on her lap on a Hall Area Transit Red Rabbit bus Wednesday. All rides on the Red Rabbit will be free today as part of the Dump the Pump Day. - photo by Tom Reed

If you are looking for a ride from point A to point B, today is your lucky day.

In honor of the annual Dump the Pump Day, Hall Area Transit is offering free rides all day on the Red Rabbit buses.

“(Participants) just show up and catch a ride,” said Phillippa Lewis-Moss, director of the Community Service Center, which oversees the transit service.

“In past years we used a voucher for the free rides, but we decided to do away with those so we wouldn’t have that extra cost.”

Dump the Pump is sponsored by the American Transportation Association. The goal of the national campaign is to encourage more people to park their cars and to take advantage of public transportation.

The annual day started in 2006, when gas prices had soared to more than $3 per gallon of regular fuel.

Today’s gas prices aren’t too far behind at around $2.50 per gallon of regular gas.

Last year, around 675 riders took advantage of the free travel opportunity.

According to the transportation association, individuals who use public transportation not only save money on personal vehicle maintenance, but also help the environment by reducing the amount of auto emissions. The association reports that if a family with two vehicles downsized to just one, they could save around $9,000 annually and reduce carbon emissions by more than 4,800 pounds.

Over the last 15 years, public transportation ridership has increased by more than 31 percent, the association reports. Just as participation has grown nationwide, it has also increased locally.

Demand grew so much that Red Rabbit officials expanded existing routes and added new ones in February. Money for the new buses to accommodate those routes came mostly from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration.

“The expansion is going really well. One route in particular — Route 5 (which includes stops at Lakeshore Mall) is always packed,” Lewis-Moss said.

“We are probably going to add another bus to that route in September. A lot of passengers will love that — more buses on a route shortens the wait time for a ride.”