There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

People need to spare the air but RT can't spare the fare

Tomorrow, August 14, is a Spare The Air day.

Transit in Placer County -- Auburn Transit, Lincoln Transit, Placer County Transit and Roseville Transit -- is free tomorrow.

Yolo Bus and UNITRANS are free tomorrow.

El Dorado Transit is free.

Even transit on the North Natomas TMA shuttle is free.

But not at Sacramento Regional Transit.

Yes, yes -- RT has been hit two years in a row with state transit funding cuts and it would cost much more for RT to offer free rides.

But, still, has RT even tried?

According the Placer County transit Web site:

"In cooperation with the public transit operators in Placer County, the City of Roseville, and with funding provided by the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, the Spare the Air campaign offers two incentive programs: "Spare the Air: Free Fare" and "Spare the Air for Bucks." Spare the Air: Free Fare: On all designated Spare the Air days in the Sacramento Region this summer, you can ride any fixed-route or commuter bus service in Placer County for FREE! Spare the Air for Bucks: Those who carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, take the bus or train, and telecommute to work can win monthly CASH and PRIZES!"
In Yolo County, the Spare the Air free rides are paid for by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

According to the Yolobus Web site:
"The grant to YOLOBUS of $62,290 will cover up to 24 free-ride days and is part of an effort by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), the Yolo County Transportation District, and the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District to help the region avoid violating clean-air standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."


zarchasmpgmr said...

RT has never participated in the free rides.

I knew someone who worked at one time in scheduling at RT. He has stories...

cindyn said...

After I started riding the bus in October, there was a free ride day - but it was courtesy Washington Mutual. And as everybody was quite surprised about it, I'm not sure how much advanced notification was given.

John said...

The WaMu free ride was deliberately kept a secret. Check out the comments on this post.

Anonymous said...

Yolo Bus, and others get their funding for spare the air days through grants of their Air Quality Districts. We talked with the Sacramento Air Quaity Districts who statef they felt that SPARE THE AIR free rides were actually counter-productive and seem to be more hung up on those with monthly passes and
rembursement issue than providing grant money. In talking with some RT board members fear that there may be more problems than ususal with free rides...
B. stanton RiderShip for the Masses

John said...

I've heard this "fear" concept surrounding free rides before. It bothers me.

I suppose one "fear" is that riff-raff will descend on the system. And I expect another "fear" is that the system will be overcrowded.

The second fear takes care of the first. There are only so many riff-raff. If you surround the riff-raff with hoardes of respectable bus and train riders, the disruptive effect of the riff-raff is neutralized.

As for the crowds, people getting excited about riding transit is a good thing! And if transit really DID pull thousands of people out of their cars, then that would be worth standing in the aisles to see.