Transit agencies celebrate national Dump the Pump Day on June 17

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Puget Sound transportation systems urge riders to "dump the pump" and ride public transit

On Thursday, June 17, Puget Sound area residents will have the chance to participate in national Dump the Pump Day by riding public transit.

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association since 2006, national Dump the Pump Day encourages people to beat gas prices and help protect the environment by leaving their cars behind and using public transportation. The ORCA smart card makes it easier than ever for bus, train and ferry riders in the Puget Sound region to climb aboard.

According to the latest APTA Transit Savings Report, the average household spends 18 cents of each dollar on transportation, with 94 percent of this going to buying, maintaining, and operating cars-the largest expenditure after housing. By downsizing to one car, a two-person household can save $9,000 a year in transportation costs. Riders can calculate their actual household savings by going to http://apta.com/members/memberprogramsandservices/advocacyandoutreachtools/Pages/TransitCalculator.aspx

In 2009, Americans boarded public transportation nearly 34 million times every weekday-a total of 10.2 billion trips a year. Transit ridership increased 31 percent since 1995, more than double the 15 percent growth in U.S. population and significantly higher than the 21 percent growth in the nation's highway use over the same period.

Locally, King County Metro Transit will celebrate Dump the Pump Day by thanking its customers. Metro will host "customer appreciation" activities at three large transit centers with refreshments provided by Starbucks and Costco. The events will run from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursday at the Northgate Park-and-Ride, Bellevue Transit Center, and Federal Way Transit Center. Sound Transit staff will be on hand at Bellevue and Federal Way.

More information on national "Dump the Pump" Day is available at http://www.apta.com/members/memberprogramsandservices/advocacyandoutreachtools/dump_the_pump_09/Pages/default.aspx

The region's new ORCA smart card allows bus, train and ferry riders to put an end to the days of rummaging for correct change. ORCA allows riders to pay quickly, with a simple tap of the card. The microchip inside each ORCA card contains an E-purse that can be loaded with cash value that can be used for individual trips, or any number of passes that offer savings and convenience. With each trip, the correct fare, including any transfer value, is automatically deducted.

ORCA is good on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, Washington State Ferries and King County Water Taxis, and on Intercity Transit commuter Express service. For information on how to get ORCA, visit www.orcacard.com