June 21 is the second annual National Dump the Pump Day, and the Puget Sound region's public transportation agencies will join transit agencies from coast to coast to ask the public to park their cars and ride public transportation instead.
Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit are participating in the event, which this year focuses on transit's role in helping to save the environment.
"Last year tens of thousands of people set aside one day to leave their cars behind and protest high gas prices," said Joyce Olson, CEO of Community Transit. "This year we hope many more people will link their personal actions to their impact on the environment."
Each weekday, public transit keeps thousands of cars off already congested roads and reduces both carbon emissions and fuel consumption.
"Public transportation plays a vital role in improving our environment," King County Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said. "On June 21, people can make a difference by riding public transportation and encouraging their friends and family to do so, too."
"Every day Sound Transit and its partners work together to offer fast, reliable and convenient options to get out of traffic," said Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl. "The options will increase when electric light rail opens between downtown Seattle and the airport in 2009. This November the region will decide if it wants to add 50 new miles of light rail to the system."
A 2007 report by ICF International, "Public Transportation and Petroleum Savings in the U.S.: Reducing Dependence on Oil," stated that U.S. public transportation systems save 1.4 billion gal of gasoline every year, the equivalent of 108 million full car tanks. As an environmentally friendly transportation mode, transit produces nearly 50% less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide per passenger mile as private vehicles.
The region's buses are also getting cleaner. Metro operates 214 articulated hybrid buses and plans to purchase more in the next few years. Its bus fleet is powered by a 20% blend of biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
Sound Transit's Sounder commuter rail trains all operate using ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, which exceeds federal clean air standards for diesel locomotives. In addition, hybrid buses make up 10% of Sound Transit's bus fleet, and its buses in King and Pierce counties also run on a 20% blend of biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
All 189 buses in the Pierce Transit fleet operate on clean-burning Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). CNG buses significantly reduce carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and virtually eliminate particulate emissions when compared to conventional diesel-powered vehicles.
To encourage participation in National Dump the Pump Day, Community Transit will hand out 10,000 stickers saying "I dumped the pump" to bus riders that day. Also, Community Transit and Sound Transit commuters will be invited to sign a large, inflatable world globe to indicate their role in helping the environment at the Lynnwood Transit Center from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Everett Transit also will offer giveaways to bus riders that day.
Taking the bus or sharing a ride can also be good for the wallet. Riders and non-riders alike can find out how much they can save in gas and parking when using public transportation by visiting Metro Online's Commute Calculator at http://transit.metrokc .gov/tops/bus/calculator.html. Metro is also inviting passengers to share their stories about how much they save each month using transit, and how they're doing it at http://transit.metrokc.gov/up/promos/
"The 2007 National Dump the Pump Day is a public awareness day that emphasizes the environmental benefits of using public transportation," said William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, which is sponsoring the event. "It is also a day for people across the country to make a difference as they conserve gasoline and help our environment."