Wichita Transit’s Free Fares Week launches next week, running Monday through Saturday. Free Fares Week is designed to give new transit riders the opportunity to experience the public transit system for rides to work, school, errands and recreation.
“Please catch a free ride to help reduce zone during Free Fares Week,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell during a morning news briefing at City Hall, 455 N. Main. “I want to remind you that vehicles contribute approximately one-third of the area’s ozone-forming emissions. Traveling on public transportation options like buses improves air quality because it reduces the number of cars on the road that emit the ingredients that form ozone.”
Wichita Transit provided 58,415 rides during Free Fares Week in 2014. More than 15,000 of those rides were new. An estimated 303,760 private vehicle miles were avoided and an estimated 464 pounds of ozone forming emissions were kept out of the air.
Free Fares Week will include a social media contest. Riders can take a “selfie” while riding a Transit bus and post the image on Wichita Transit Facebook and Twitter pages using #catcharidewichita. Posting their selfie makes riders eligible to win 1 of 10 bus passes in a drawing on June 23. The free Transit rides are made possible through a federal grant provided to help improve air quality.
Also, riders can ride at no cost during high ozone, or Ozone Alert, days through Oct. 31 as part of a regional effort to improve air quality by reducing emissions. Ozone Alerts Days occur when ozone levels are expected to be high. A main contributor are vehicles. Riding Transit buses on Ozone Alert days reduces ozone levels and helps the area avoid exceeding federal ozone limits.
City officials alert the public through media partners and marketing efforts. Citizens can sign up to receive Ozone Alert emails when high ozone days are predicted by visiting www.wichita.gov/ozone. Additionally, the City of Wichita and Wichita Transit will post Ozone Alerts on their respective websites and social media sites. Residents can also learn about Ozone Alert days from the Intelligent Transportation System message boards along major highways.