Plump up your wallet by ‘dumping the pump’

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Everyone is concerned about saving money and cutting down on expenses these days. And as local gas prices again begin to creep up to $3 a gallon, one of the easiest ways to keep more money in your wallet is to park your car at home and hop on public transportation. 

Once again this year, the region’s transportation agencies are urging residents to ride a bus, train, boat, bike, take a walk, or share the ride on Thursday, June 18, the fourth annual National Dump the Pump Day. 

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the 2009 National Dump the Pump Day encourages people to ride public transportation to save money, protect the environment, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and improve our quality of life. APTA’s monthly Transit Savings Report consistently ranks the Seattle metropolitan area as one of the top ten regions for potential transit savings. 

Community Transit, Everett Transit, Intercity Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and the WSDOT Ferries Division (Washington State Ferries) are joining agencies across the country to ask those who’ve never tried public transportation to get on board with saving and take a new ride on Thursday. Regular transit users are encouraged to make it a “zero drive” day, and only use transit. 

“Puget Sound residents have so many great alternatives to driving—buses, streetcars, vanpools, trains, the iconic ferries, and in less than a month we’ll be adding 16 miles of light rail to that long list,” said Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl. 

The agencies in the Puget Sound region share a common goal of offering safe, reliable, and low-cost transportation choices. Yet, each offers a unique array services that interconnect with other agencies to create a very useable transportation network for the region. 

Some are hosting special activities for Dump the Pump Day, and others are featuring regular services that can help you save money every day. 

Community Transit

Community Transit invites drivers to Dump the Pump and calculate their transit savings on Thursday, June 18 at the Lynnwood Transit Center, 20100 48th Ave. W. 

From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. that day, Community Transit staff and mascot Oxy Gene will be on hand to help commuters calculate how much money they can save by using transit instead of driving to work, school or other destinations. People can get free ride tickets good for two Community Transit bus rides by calling (425) 353-RIDE (7433).

Everett Transit

Everett Transit staff will be on hand at Everett Station (3201 Smith Ave., Everett) on Thursday, June 18 from 6 a.m. - 8 a.m. to support and reward those who have chosen to dump the pump by riding an Everett Transit bus. 

Everett Transit continually explores options that combine convenient service with ways to improve our region’s environment; offering choices that allow the public to think transit first. From low cost fares to hybrid technology, Everett Transit strives to keep our communities green and our passengers comfortable. For more information on Everett Transit routes and schedules, please contact customer service at 425-257-7777 or visit us online as www.EverettTransit.org. 

Intercity Transit

Intercity Transit in Thurston County is encouraging people to use another wallet- and earth-friendly travel mode this week.  This includes community leaders, transit stakeholders, and its own employees and leadership using an alternative travel mode on June 18.  People who already know the benefits of public transportation are sharing their stories broadly with others through Intercity Transit’s ambassador program.  Here are a few of their comments: 

“Driving less and riding my bicycle more are ways that I plan to dump the pump this month and every month,” says Karen Messmer, Olympia City Councilmember and Intercity Transit Authority Vice Chair.  

“I can’t afford to throw money away on gas.  I want to spend it on fun,” says Marta Deleon, a Tacoma to Olympia commuter using the Olympia-Tacoma Express bus service.  She works at the State of Washington Attorney General’s Office. 

I.T. officials say their agency’s ridership growth continues upward, even after an 18 percent jump last year, with a 15 percent increase in the first quarter of 2009.  Intercity Transit was recently one of ten U.S. transit systems to win a Federal Transit Administration Success in Enhancing Ridership Award.  

King County Metro Transit

Dump the Pump Day also coincides with the start of summer, and King County Metro Transit wants people who are “staycationing” close to home this year to see how much farther their vacation/holiday dollars stretch when they travel by bus. 

In addition to bus routes serving the big-city attractions in Seattle and Bellevue, Metro also has regular service to parks, beaches, malls, movie theaters, ball parks, and hiking trails. There are discounted fares for children and families to help make summertime fun more affordable. 

Kitsap Transit

Kitsap Transit has been operating reliable, money-saving public transit in Kitsap County for more than 25 years.  Bus routes operating within Kitsap communities provide service to jobs, for errands or to just go exploring.  Foot Ferry service on the historic Carlisle II connects Kitsap communities.  Bus service to four Washington State Ferries terminals links Kitsap residents to Seattle, Edmonds and Southworth.

This valuable network of transit service plus vanpools, park & ride lots, bicycle programs, ridematching and other programs support Kitsap Transit's goals of reducing traffic congestion and the environmental impacts of automobile travel.   

Dump the Pump Day is a great opportunity to remind committed transit users of the benefits of public transit and to encourage those looking for a greener commute to try a transit alternative.  For information on Kitsap Transit services, please call 1-800-501-7433 or visit www.kitsaptransit.org.  

Pierce Transit

Pierce Transit had nearly five million boardings this year by the end of April 2009, continuing to maintain historic ridership levels that began with record high gas prices during the summer of 2008.  Pierce County residents, who continue to utilize Pierce Transit’s fixed route, express, or vanpool services at least three days a week, can save more than $1,000 annually by leaving their cars at home. 

There are also the environmental benefits. Nationwide, public transportation saves 900,000 automobile fill-ups each day – 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year. And switching to a 100 percent clean, Compressed Natural Gas powered public transportation system like Pierce Transit can reduce individual carbon emissions by 20 pounds per day or 4,800 pounds per year.


Sound Transit

Sound Transit, the regional provider of commuter rail and express bus service, has been calculating savings to help its customers “ride out the recession.” Riders have responded by sending in their personal savings stories. Here’s one: 

“I live in Queen Anne and work for a non-profit in Redmond, about a 40 mile commute round trip each day. Last year, my employer purchased bus passes for employees and sold them to us for $30. Once I started taking the bus to work, I went from spending about $150 - $200 a month in gas to now about $30. I take the bus more than just to work now; I hardly ever even drive my car at all anymore.”

Sound Transit offers commuters throughout the region several ways to dump the pump to save money and help the environment. Sound Transit operates regional express bus service, Sounder commuter rail service, light rail in Tacoma, and on July 18, Central Link light rail line will launch service between downtown Seattle and Tukwila.  

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferries provides a web of transportation resources to connect commuters with many different transportation services. For example, many commuters living in Bremerton or on Bainbridge Island ride their bike to the ferry dock, sail across to Seattle, then hop back on their bike to get to work, or load their wheels onto a bus for the final leg of the commute. Many North Kitsap and Whidbey Island commuters make similar connections to Mukilteo, and then board a Sounder train or Community Transit or Everett Transit bus to finish the journey. 

Both bike riders and people who walk on the ferry enjoy much cheaper fares than those who drive their cars aboard the boat. 

In the Puget Sound region, eight public transportation agencies carry more than 500,000 passengers every weekday and serve a population of more than 3.8 million in the five-county area.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
CT: Martin Munguia at (425) 348-2348 or martin.munguia@commtrans.org

ET: Steffani Lillie at (425) 257-8914 or slillie@ci.everett.wa.us

IT: Meg Kester at (360) 705-5842 or mkester@intercitytransit.com

KCMT: Linda Thielke at (206) 684-1414 or linda.thielke@kingcounty.gov

KT: Laurie Talbert at (360) 478-6225 or LaurieT@kitsaptransit.com

PT: Lars Erickson: (253) 984-8212 or lerickson@piercetransit.org

ST: Linda Robson: (206) 398-5149 or linda.robson@soundtransit.org

WSF: Susan Harris: (206)515-3460 or sharris@wsdot.wa.gov