April 22, 2009

Transit agencies celebrate Earth Day

Stressing its environmental friendliness and the necessity for the entire country to go green, transit agencies around the nation celebrated Earth Day on Wednesday.

An individual switching to public transit can reduce his or her daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds or more than 4,800 pounds a year. This is more than the combined carbon emissions reduction that comes from using energy-efficient light bulbs, adjusting thermostats, weather-proofing a home and replacing an older refrigerator with a high efficient refrigerator, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

“In total, Americans using public transportation reduce our nation’s carbon footprint by 37 million metric tons annually,” said APTA President William W. Millar. “Imagine how much, much more carbon savings there would  be if there was greater investment in public transportation from local, state, and federal governments.” 

To celebrate, many transit agencies, such as Capital Area Transportation Authority in Lansing, Mich.; Orlando, Fla.’s LYNX; and Nashville, Tenn.-based Metropolitan Transit Authority and Regional Transportation Authority are participating in local Earth Day events and demonstrating the positive benefits of using public transit.

Additionally, agencies including the Capital District Transportation Authority in Albany, N.Y. and Hampton, Va.’s Hampton Roads Transit are offering free rides and having giveaways to celebrate the day.

Other transit agency Earth Day activities included:

  • The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (Boston, Mass.) and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company unveiled two new energy efficient locomotives that will provide dramatic fuel savings and reduce emissions;
  • Cincinnati’s Metro dedicated its first six hybrid buses and had a hybrid bus parade on Tuesday, April 21.  The hybrid buses will go into service on Earth Day; and  
  • In honor of Earth Day and the fact that MTS set a record by selling more than 9,200 semester passes to students at the San Diego State University, the Metropolitan Transit System in San Diego offered students free rides to campus. 
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