June 19--The Schuylkill Transportation System is offering free rides today on fix route buses in honor of National Dump the Pump Day.
There are eight fixed routes operating today -- Shenandoah, Minersville, Schuylkill Haven, Pottsville quick route, Pottsville loop, Tamaqua/McAdoo, Ashland and Mahanoy City.
The first bus departs Union Station at 6:45 a.m. and goes to Shenandoah. The last bus departs at 5:10 p.m.
The ninth annual Dump the Pump Day was launched by the American Public Transportation Association after gas prices reached $3 a gallon to encourage people to ride public transportation. This is also the ninth year STS has participated in the event.
Mike Micko, STS executive director, said it is a good day for people to ride the bus.
"Using public transportation is the quickest way to beat high gas prices and saves the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually. That's why we are offering free rides to encourage more people to join our regular riders and dump the pump on June 19," Micko said.
"What we're trying to do here is to introduce the public to public transportation," Micko said.
Regular base fare on the fixed route is $1.30 one way. Starting July 1, the cost goes up 5 cents to $1.35.
Last year, 1,267 riders took advantage of the free bus rides, Joan Breslin, marketing and service support coordinator with STS, said.
The Schuylkill County commissioners recognized the importance of National Dump the Pump Day on Wednesday during their work session meeting.
Commissioners Chairman Frank Staudenmeier read a proclamation that, in part, said using public transportation saves money, gas, travel time and is good for the environment.
Staudenmeier told Micko that he appreciated the work at STS.
"Thank God for STS and everything that you do," he said.
Micko encouraged people to take advantage of the free rides.
"If you know someone that you think can really use it in the future, (it's) a golden opportunity for them," he said.
"Nationally, 10.7 billion trips were taken by Americans last year, the highest in 57 years, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
To learn more about Dump the Pump, call 570-429-2701 or 800-832-3322, or visit www.go-sts.com.
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