Cut Costs, Cut Oil Use, Cut Pollution and Stress: “Dump the Pump” Tomorrow

Who: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and transit agencies across America
What:  Participating in the national Dump the Pump day
When: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Where:Throughout the United States
Why: To promote affordable, easy and earth-friendly public transportation
How: By riding PSTA on Thursday instead of driving your car

9385 reducedDid you know that transportation is now the biggest household expense in the United States behind rent and mortgage? If you’re surprised to learn that fact, you’re not alone, but it’s not hard to understand when you consider that USA Today and the American Automobile Association say the average cost to own a car is now more than $9,000 a year. Additionally, the news outlets started their week with reports about gasoline prices are once again on the rise. That means that a fill-up for many cars now costs more than a full-fare, unlimited ride monthly bus pass on PSTA ($65).

These are just some of the reasons why PSTA leaders are joining APTA and transit agencies nationwide to promote the ninth annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 19.  “The 2014 National Dump the Pump Day is a day that encourages people to ride public transportation and save money, instead of driving a car,” says Virginia Miller APTA Director of Media Relations. “In fact, according to the April APTA Transit Savings Report, a two-person household can save an average of more than $10,000 annually by downsizing to one car.”  In addition to saving money, officials say public transit use cuts pollution, demand for foreign oil and stress as you let someone else drive while you relax, read or surf the internet during your commute.

To participate and “Dump the Pump” all you have to do to is to leave the car at home this Thursday and ride PSTA. For those who have never ridden before, you can call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900 to learn how or book a special “Show Me” service offered by the agency. “We established the ‘Show Me’ program to make it easier for people to take their first trip on PSTA,” says agency spokesperson Bob Lasher. “We found that the main reason why people don’t try PSTA is the uneasiness about doing something new for the first time, so we created this program to ease their mind.” When a “Show Me” is booked, a PSTA employee meets with an individual or group and teaches them how to plan a trip – either electronically or using printed materials – then the employee takes them on a free round-trip ride to practice and see just how easy it is to use PSTA.

The agency has plenty of other how-to-ride resources as well including a Google Trip planner located on the home page of www.psta.net.  You can also view various “how-to” videos on the site’s “How to Ride” page, www.psta.net/howtoride.php. Full fare is $2.00 one way or $4.50 all day $1.00 & $2.25 for seniors and people with disabilities. Daily passes can be purchased right on the bus, although exact change is required. When you’re ready to travel, you can then call, text, logon or use a smartphone to find out when your bus will arrive at your stop with PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information System.

Did you know?

  • Public transportation is a $57 billion industry, which employs more than 400,000 people.
  • Public Transportation provides economic opportunities & drives community growth and revitalization
  • Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns
  • Every $10 million in public transportation capital investments yields $30 million in increased business sales
  • Every $10 million in operating investments yields $32 million in increased business sales.
  • From 2006-2011, residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service.
  • Public transportation use in the US saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

To learn more about PSTA, please visit the agency’s award winning website at www.psta.net and to learn more about the future of transit in Pinellas County, learn about the Greenlight Pinellas Plan at www.greennlightpinellas.com.

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