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Free Transit Day Brings No Boost To Ridership

<p>Public transit ridership saw little or no change in the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this week when transit agencies offered free rides as part of a "Spare the Air" campaign.</p>
August 30, 2007, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The lure of free travel this morning on the Bay Area's mass transit systems to help cut down on smog didn't seem to lure commuters onto the region's trains, buses and ferries."

"The commute traffic appeared to be either the same or a bit heavier than normal, according to spot checks by The Chronicle of several public transit systems."

Wednesday "was the season's first of four possible 'Spare the Air' days, on which public transit users can ride for free. The program kicks in on days when air quality officials predict particularly poor air quality that can lead to health problems. The goal is to lure people out of their cars to reduce smog."

"Most transit systems are free all day."

"Last year there were six free-transit days. This year, there's enough funding for four. Even though passengers can ride for free, the operators get reimbursed. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is providing $7.5 million and the air quality agency is giving $1 million to fund the program this year."

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Published on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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