(COLORADO SPRINGS) — City officials celebrated the success of its Zero Fare for Better Air initiative on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 31.
The program offered free summer rides and cut statewide Bustang fees by 50%. Community members got to enjoy the benefits of taking extra trips to see family or simply getting outside to explore the city without worrying about costs.
“Transportation links workers to jobs,” said Nancy Henjum, City Council Member for District 5. “It links adults and children to education, groceries, medical care and other vital services.”
With Zero Fare, commuters got to save on parking meters while helping reduce pollution during Colorado’s highest ozone season, which lasts from June to August, according to Ann Rajewski, Executive Director with the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies.
“We are seeing cleaner air, less traffic congestion and more people who are able to travel where they need to go,” said Henjum.
After cutting bus fees, Mountain Metropolitan Transit (Mountain Metro) reported a 62% increase over July 2022 with over 353,000 boardings, breaking a record set back in 2008, per Henjum.
“Every time that somebody can leave their car at home and take a ride on a bus, especially if it’s an electric bus like this, that’s an opportunity to reduce pollution,” said Danny Katz, Executive Director of Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG).
Now, with a federal grant, Mountain Metro intends to add six electric hybrid busses to join its fleet of four battery electric busses – keeping Colorado Springs healthy with clean air and happy commuters.