Transit Riders Dump the Gas Pump for a Day


By Christopher Bony

Outlook Writer

The idea of giving up on the gas pump for a day and riding the public transit instead suited Arthur Blake just fine.

“I have no problem catching the bus to work,” said Blake, 39. “It’s good for me because I don’t use up my gas and it’s a little good for the environment.”

Blake was one of hundreds of Tallahassee residents who took advantage of a once-a-year opportunity to ride the bus, a move intended to promote a green and healthy way of living. It marked the 10th year the American Public Transportation Association partnered with public transportation systems around the country to celebrate “Dump the Pump Day.”

As part of the awareness for a cleaner environment while saving money normally spent for gas, Tallahassee’s Star Metro offered free rides all day Thursday, June 18. Passengers were given an added incentive in the form of a free gym membership to rely more on public transportation.

“More people should ride the bus every day,” said 55-year-old Shirley Jackson, who relies on the public transit as her primary means of getting around town. “It’s easy for me to just get on the bus, I feel a lot safer than I do getting in a car anyway.”

The National Dump the Pump Day campaign began in 2006 when gas prices were as high as $3 per gallon. The idea started as a way to help promote community growth and the use of public transportation around the country.

Riding the bus impacts the economy of each community, according to the APTA. It estimates that for every $1 invested in public transportation translates to a $4 economic return.

For one day, people who tried a bus ride contributed to the cause.

“I don’t catch the bus often at all,” said Jacob Johnson. “I heard about this last year and wanted to take part in benefitting my community.”