The Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS) is holding another in a series of fare-free days tomorrow as a way to encourage people to use public transportation. For one day, anyone can get on or off a CTS bus without paying the 75 cents usually required.

The free bus rides are part of the City’s Clean Commute Day, which is designed to promote alternative transportation options. Organizers are also hoping people will sign a pledge to take alternative forms of transportation one day each week. The ultimate goal is to reduce car trips by people driving alone. People who sign the pledge will have their names entered into a drawing for a bus trip to New York City on Oliver Kuttner’s Starlight Express. There will also be

a two-hour celebration at the Community Chalkboard from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

. The event is sponsored across Virginia by the American Lung Association and locally sponsored by the area transit agencies.

Last year, the MPO Policy Board

discussed the possibility of going fare-free year-round

as a way of boosting ridership. The City later decided against taking that step because of the costs.  The University makes a contribution to CTS which allows its students, faculty and staff to show their ID to board a CTS bus for free. CTS Director Bill Watterson

told the MPO policy board last month that the program is pushing ridership figures into record territory

. He said CTS is on track to provide 1.7 million rides in the fiscal year ending on June 30.

CTS officials have been working on other ways to make it easier for people to use the system. A new “universal transfer system” to make it easier to switch buses was put into place in March. The service also began offering “real-time” information to commuters utilizing GPS technology. The service lets passengers know how long before the next bus arrives at a given stop.

This summer, children and teenagers will be able to ride for free with a CTS Youth Free Ride ID card. ID cards can be obtained by appointment at the Downtown Transit Station. Phone 970-3649 for more information.

Sean Tubbs


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