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Enjoy the Ride on Earth Day!

Many transit authorities around the nation are offering free rides today, in honor of Earth Day. Make sure to follow your regional or local transit authority for similar promotions!

The county of Lackawanna’s transit system, COLTS in Scranton, Penn. is providing free rides to public transit commuters. The county created a public service announcement to promote the free rides, which you can watch above. The free rides and the public service announcement are inspired by the national “Be the Earth” campaign, organized by Earth Day New York, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental awareness.

DART, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, is also providing free bus rides today to encourage riders to park their cars. This effort is also part of a larger campaign by the transit authority to bring awareness to the environmental benefits of public transit. The campaign is a series of print advertisements that feature the same city street with 40 cars, 40 passengers of a bus and 40 bicyclists in an effort to show the difference between occupied spaces. According to the promotion’s webpage, “private vehicles account for as much as 55 percent of the carbon footprint of a typical two-car household. A single person commuting 20 miles roundtrip, who switches from car to transit, can save 4,800 pounds of CO2 emissions annually.”

Des Moines Area Regional Transit's environmental awareness campaign showing the same street with 40 private vehicles, 40 bus passengers and 40 bicyclists. Photo via Urban Ambassadors.

Des Moines Area Regional Transit's environmental awareness campaign showing the same street with 40 private vehicles, 40 bus passengers and 40 bicyclists. Photo via Urban Ambassadors.

Metro Transit of Oklahoma city is running a similar promotion, providing free rides to commuters. In addition to the rides, the transit system is giving out vouchers for a free tree seedling from a local florist.

Fortunately, free rides are not unique to the U.S. “Join a Friend” is a Quebec-wide promotional campaign to introduce the public transit system to new commuters. They are offering free rides today for which commuters must present vouchers.

Public transportation reduces the number of private vehicles on the road and therefore the amount of local pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. If for nothing else, this is significant for the quality of our air. “Traveling by public transportation uses less energy and produces less pollution than comparable travel in private vehicles,” says the American Public Transportation Association. “To make progress in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and impacting climate change, public transportation must be a part of the solution.”

What are some of the transportation choices you made today in honor of Earth Day?

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