Starting Monday, all Regional Transportation District buses and trains will be free to riders for the entire month of August as part of the agency’s Zero Fare for Better Air initiative.
Officials gathered at Union Station in Denver on Thursday to discuss the initiative, which aims to reduce ground-level ozone by encouraging the use of public transit.
The program is a part of a larger, $340 million package from Gov. Jared Polis’ office to address air quality. The initiative was made possible by Senate Bill 22-180, which allocates $68 million in statewide funds for fare-free promotions and other transit services, and in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office.
Citing the pandemic as a blow to public transit, Dominique Gomez, deputy director at the Colorado Energy Office, said that reducing people’s need to drive is “a critical component of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and meet our climate change goals.”
“With gas prices currently so high, this program can really help Coloradans get where they need to go and save money,” Gomez said.
With August usually the peak season for ozone levels, officials hope that free public transport throughout the month will help mitigate the issue.
“What we’re trying to do is to showcase how easy it is to take transit. It takes 21 days to form a habit,” said Debra A. Johnson, RTD general manager and CEO. “This is a step in forming a habit of more sustainable travel patterns.”
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