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June 14, 2011 | 9 Comments

Let Your Gas-Free Flag Fly! National Dump the Pump Day June 16

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National Dump the Pump Day is almost here! On Thursday, June 16, Metro St. Louis and other supporters will encourage motorists to leave their cars at home and take alternative transportation to work, school and play. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the 2011 National Dump the Pump Day focuses on people riding public transportation and saving money, instead of driving a car. Started in June 2006 when gas prices were $3 per gallon, this national day emphasizes that public transportation is a great travel option that also helps people save money.

Now that gas is hovering around $3.50 in Missouri and $3.70 in Illinois around St. Louis, the economic benefits are more poignant. With the monthly pass of $68, taking Metro at least twice a day costs only $1.10 each trip. Add in the cost of a vehicle, maintenance and insurance, and you can see very real cost savings.

What do these savings mean for St. Louis? When you spend money on gasoline instead of going to your local restaurant or seeing a favorite local band, your dollars typically end up out of the region.  Currently, the United States consumes more gasoline than South America, Europe, Africa and Asia combined. We now drive more often and further than ever before, and a lot of that money gets sent away from regional economies. When you dump the pump, you aren’t just saving money for yourself. You can put your dollars someplace other than your gas tank, like the small business down the street.

Metro employees are also being asked to take the Dump the Pump Challenge. Look for Metro ambassadors Thursday at MetroLink stations to get your “I Dumped the Pump!” stickers (like “I voted” stickers!). You can also sign up to win a prize for taking public transit and leaving the car at home.

Then on Thursday night, head out to Mojo Tapas on South Grand Avenue for a Carfree Happy Hour: Dump the Pump Version. Presented by Transit Turning Point and Mayor Slay’s Vanguard Cabinet, the happy hour is a great way to meet other transit enthusiasts and enjoy discounted drinks and food, just for dumping the pump!

Time: 6 – 8 pm
Place Mojo Tapas: Bar
MetroBus Lines Served: #30 Soulard; #70 Grand
Street Address: 3117 South Grand
Drink: Tapas Specials for those with Metro passes
Suggested Modes of Transit: bus, bike, unicycle, skateboard, foot

RSVP

Do you plan to Dump the Pump on June 16? What is your transit story?

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Categories:
Transit Benefits

9 thoughts on “Let Your Gas-Free Flag Fly! National Dump the Pump Day June 16”

  1. RTBones says:

    I am not planning on it, but am not NOT planning on it either. The last few times I have tried to take Metro, buses were either late or I couldn’t get where I needed in the time I had. In one case, after taking a bus to my destination, I ended up finding alternate transport back. Commuting is usually not an issue unless I have to stay late, which I have been doing more of lately. As a result, I have been driving more because I’ve needed transport I could count on.

    1. Courtney says:

      Well, obviously you need transportation you can count on, but thousands of people take transit in St. Louis everyday (myself being one) and its a great way to encourage more riders. After all, increased ridership helps generate political and community support, which improves the system.

  2. RTBones says:

    Not disagreeing with you. I take it too (you already know I hold a monthly pass). But when I know I need to get somewhere and am not sure of my return time, I drive. Particularly at work, since post-rush hour buses on the route I need only come once an hour. Sometimes Metro works for me. Other times it doesn’t. I am fortunate that I can exercise either the Metro or drive option.

  3. RTBones says:

    No edit button, so you get an extra comment. 🙂 I should amend my last comment to say it is much less of an issue if I’m going someplace I can take the train. My problems are usually bus-related (unless there is a snow/ice storm – in which case all bets for all transport including driving are off).

  4. RTBones says:

    You did ask for our transit stories. That’s mine. 🙂

  5. mike says:

    Courtney,

    Please provide me with some tips that I can use to try to “sell” or encourage others in our region to ride the bus. I would like to encourage people who live along the N. Hanley Rd. corridor between Airport Rd. and I-270, how to conveniently use buses from that location to go shopping at the St. Louis Mills, or use them to travel back and forth to work at the new National Personnel Records Center off of Dunn Rd,

    Also, explain how increased ridership would influence community and political support to prompt improvements with the buses, and what type of improvements could be expected as the result of such support.

  6. RTBones says:

    Mike,

    I can’t comment on what words could be used to “sell” Metro, but can imagine what increased ridership would do. If Metro can show high ridership numbers, that gives them ammunition when they talk to local leaders about money because they can demonstrate demand. Additionally, if more people ride and see it as a viable service, they’ll ask for more – which will draw the attention of political leaders. From the politician’s point of view, it makes supporting transit funding palatable even in difficult economic times because their constituents want it. Metro could help its own cause here if they’d market the system as a whole.

  7. mike says:

    RTBones,

    Missouri pols haves little interest in supporting public transit. If my memory serves me correctly, after the passage of Prop. A, a substantial portion of state funds (I believe amounted to several millions) earmarked to help fund Metro operations was slashed (with the presumption that the loss of state funds could be made up with proceeds from the sales tax). Missourians are living in the times in which Jay Nixon is trimming the budget like he’s cutting up a paper doll, and I don’t belive (I might be wrong), that supporting public transit is at the top of his priority list.

    To the contrary, I don’t think state and local pols have to worry much about lossing many constituents due to their lack of support for public transit. In spite of the passage of Prop A., many voters generally don’t use or want to support public transit systems partly because of the current state that they’re in, and many constituents have commented that they generally don’t benefit from public transit because of limited or no access to it. I feel that the strongest support in passing Prop. A, came from voters who were adversely affected by the 2009 service cuts, who are more dependent on public transit, vs. those who use it as an option, but that’s just speculation on my part.

    As I have mentioned in the past, Metro, more so than its riders, needs to sell or market itself by providing better service, in order to convince others that riding buses is a viable option. Metro must somehow produce and provide a tangible product to encourage others to ride buses.

  8. RTBones says:

    Mike,

    Oh, you’ll get no argument from me. Metro markets itself very poorly, and when it does put out the odd add now and again, they focus on all the wrong things.

    Earlier in this thread, I mentioned that I couldn’t help you with words to “sell” Metro. This is because I spend a lot of time defending Metro to colleagues, who regularly look at me like I have two heads when the topic comes up. I end up just beating my head against the wall. Every single issue I’ve ranted about here, I’ve heard a million times from them.

    Almost to a man, they want Metrolink expanded, but very few will vote for anything Metro related because they don’t trust Metro to be a good steward of their tax dollars. They’ll ask why they should vote for it because Metro does nothing to address any of their needs. That, in part, speaks to Metro’s very poor marketing scheme. If they see something like “Metrolink or bus access to Metrolink” on a ballot, they’ll vote against it because they know they’ll never get the train. They don’t want more buses that provide minimal service. They don’t want buses that require two connections and an hour of wait time to get where you need to go. They don’t want buses that shut down or run minimal service after rush hour. They don’t want buses that can be taken away almost on a whim due to service “adjustments.” They’ll take a train, because that is infrastructure and harder to stop running at moment’s notice. They’ll take a train because they know where it goes. They’ll take a train because they can actually get out of traffic, not sit on it in a bus. They’ll take a train because its easy – unlike our buses.

    This is not the thread to rehash old arguments – but when I see the big banner on Metro’s own website that says “Dump the Pump” I just have to chuckle. I realize the intent of the day is to “pump up” interest in public transit – an I certainly am not trying to rain on anybody’s parade. You’ve read my posts. I am pro transit and want it to succeed in St. Louis. But the fact is – for the majority of the St. Louis metro area, transit is either an afterthought or a joke. Yes, there are areas that have good service, but the region as a whole – not so much.

    Metro, you want me to Dump the Pump? Then give me service I can actually use.

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