published Thursday, June 21st, 2012

CARTA celebrates National Dump the Pump Day today

Lookout Mountain looms in the background as Alexis Sanders rides a Route 1 bus into the Alton Park neighborhood Wednesday. CARTA is encouraging motorists to "Dump the Pump" on Thursday in an effort to attract riders who would otherwise drive themselves. The program, which is an attempt to capitalize on high gas prices, is one of many across the country.
Lookout Mountain looms in the background as Alexis Sanders rides a Route 1 bus into the Alton Park neighborhood Wednesday. CARTA is encouraging motorists to "Dump the Pump" on Thursday in an effort to attract riders who would otherwise drive themselves. The program, which is an attempt to capitalize on high gas prices, is one of many across the country.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

FAST FACTS

• Adult one-way cash fare: $1.50

• Average price of gas in Chattanooga on Thursday: $3.08, according to ChattanoogaGasPrices.com

Families can save money on gasoline prices just by riding a CARTA bus.

That's the message CARTA and more than 140 other public transportation systems across the country want to communicate today during the national Dump the Pump campaign.

"Gas prices are fluctuating," said Veronica Peebles, CARTA's manager of communications. "Riding public transit is always a sure thing as far as saving money."

With 144 public transportation systems and another 18 public and private organizations in the campaign, 2012 is a record-breaking year for Dump the Pump participation, said Virginia Miller, American Public Transportation Association spokeswoman.

CARTA wants people to ride the bus every day, but today is a nationally recognized day in which all public transit systems come together to encourage more people to ride the bus.

"It helps. It helps," said CARTA veteran bus operator Cynthia Roshell. "With the economy being in the shape that it's in, a lot of people are improvising by riding bikes or the bus."

Today only, as an incentive to first-time riders, CARTA is knocking off the $2 card fee for riders who get a 24-hour day pass. The 24-hour pass fee is $4, but usually, first-time users also pay a $2 fee for the card.

All other fares for CARTA will remain the same today. One-way cash fare is $1.50 for adults, 75 cents for seniors, disabled and grade-school students with CARTA identification cards. Children age 5 and younger ride free with a paying passenger.

Switching from driving to riding public transit saves individuals on average of $9,743 a year, according to an American Public Transportation Association news release.

"I don't own a car and riding the bus is cheaper than buying gas," said Gloria Brown, a housekeeper at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.

She pays her friend $5 for gas to take her to work on Sundays when the bus doesn't run as frequently but during the week she rides CARTA for $1.50 or uses a 24-hour pass.

Panera Bread production leader Pam Lewis once paid $14 for a taxi cab to take her from her Alton Park home to work downtown. From that point on she made sure her work schedule coincided with the CARTA bus schedule.

"If CARTA isn't coming, I don't work," Lewis said.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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