Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, like most American’s you might be struggling to find what more you can do to help the environment. You’ve might have started by getting a compost bin to start that garden mulch from your kitchen scraps. Maybe even buying more items that can be recycled and not thrown away. You’re also about 99% sure that every light bulb in your house is energy efficient (except for maybe that bathroom one) and you’ve bought extra blankets so you can keep that thermostat low. What else can you do? One overlooked way, which might be considered a pioneering discovery for those that have tried it and love it, and is yet the most effective way to help protect the earth and reduce global warming, is to try an alternative commute mode to driving alone.
Declaring June Ride Transit Month, Transportation Choices Coalition and other community partners along with bus drivers and riders will be encouraging people to ride public transit during the month of June to help cut individual costs, protect the environment and curb pollution.
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
With traffic congestion getting worse in cities across the country, cars and light trucks now account for about 30 percent of air pollution nationwide. The average urban commuter is said to waste about 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. That’s an additional 42 hours of a mobile office, free of interruption, time spent watching your favorite show, catching up on that book you’ve been meaning to read, or even some extra shut eye (since we all know everyone could use some more of that).
Immediate saving activity
Switching to public transportation offers an immediate alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The annual savings for an individual who switches to taking public transportation, on average, is more than $812 per month. Switching to transit is easily the most effective thing you can do to fight climate change and place more money and time in your pocket.
Students and families
For every mile not driven, approximately one pound of carbon dioxide is not emitted into the atmosphere. You can create your own “Act of Green” through personal action like:
Logging your trips on Choose Your Way Bellevue will help you keep track of your carbon footprint and how much your saving!
So, avoid the hassle and cost of parking and try taking the bus, light rail or start a vanpool and reap the many benefits, including reducing your carbon foot print.
Post photos of your Earth Day ride on Facebook and tweet them using hashtags #CYWBtransit and #BellevueEarthDay.
– Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee
The Bike Everywhere Challenge is a fun and free competition to encourage your friends and colleagues to experience firsthand the joys and benefits of riding a bike.
REGISTER. IT’S FREE: Visit the lovetoride website and register by filling in the required information. Make sure to check the box that reflects how often you’ve ridden a bike in the last 12 months and click “NEXT”.
RIDE FOR 10 MINUTES OR MORE: In May, if you ride a bike anywhere for at least 10 minutes between May 1 and May 31, 2017, you can log your trip to be eligible for great prizes.
RECRUIT FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES: Send invites out to your coworkers and friends to form a Bike Team. Teams consist of up to 8 people, but teams of 10 are permitted if two members on the team are considered “new riders,” or riders who have only ridden a few times in the past year.
WIN GREAT PRIZES: The aim is to earn the most points by riding and getting others on your team to ride during Bike Month (May 1 – 31). 2017 prizes will be posted to the Bike Everywhere Challenge webpage. Point scoring is as follows:
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Jacob
Mariners opening day is fast approaching and now that I’m working in Bellevue, I wanted to get a jump start on my commute to the night games. I started by weighing my advantages and disadvantages of driving to the game. Dealing with rush hour traffic AND game day traffic sounded dreadful. I decided to test out my game day route when I came across some Sounders tickets. I jumped on Google Maps, adjusted the “arrive by” time, and saw the 550 from Bellevue Transit Center would get me to the game by 7:00 p.m. Along the way, I was surprised to see so many fans boarding the bus in Bellevue.
Most of the major transit hubs like Mercer Island Park and Ride have open spots after 5 p.m. Getting on and jumping off with the rest of the Sounder’s crowd was great, and getting dropped off 8 minutes from the stadium was even better. Not only did I arrive in time to have a drink before heading into the stadium, I even beat the friend I was meeting who was coming from downtown Seattle!
When leaving the game, I was glad that I wasn’t one of the cars stuck at the traffic lights or dodging fans in the parking lots. Jumping on the bus and heading home was a breeze. I live in Seattle, so it was a much quicker commute from the stadium on route 5, but I witnessed many people heading to the International District/Chinatown station to catch their bus and/or train out of Seattle.
Traveling home alone on the bus after the game at 10:00 p.m. also wasn’t very intimidating as there were so many fans on the street. A nice perk of taking a Metro bus home was being able to ask the bus driver about a block in advance to stop a bit closer to my house on the normal route. Metro’s program called Night Stop that runs between 8:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. allows you to ask a Metro driver to stop somewhere nearer your destination, if it is safe for the bus to do so. It was a nice bonus at the end of the night!
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Sandee
The time has come to change Just One Trip and get rewarded! Just One Trip could be the catalyst to change not only your commute, but your life. The average American spends nearly an hour commuting every day, and now’s your chance to reclaim that hour for you. Catch up on the news, take a nap, make new friends, or be the best dog-gone Bejeweled player there ever was.
Get on that bus. Join that carpool. Dust off that bike in your garage. Heck, that extra walk could do us all some good. To show you how much they believe in you, King County Metro will give you a One-Time $100 Emergency Ride Home credit to use with Uber, Lyft or taxi as well as a $25 reward when you take the plunge and log your trips and complete a follow-up survey. Enrollment closes March 31, 2017. Sign up today and start reducing your drive alone trips!
Already signed up? Make sure to log your trips to unlock your Follow Up Survey in the Community In Motion network!
Tell us your non-drive-alone commute story!
King County Metro wants to hear about your commute! Are you a sleek, spandex-wearing bike commuter? Are you a book-reading, back-of-the-bus rider? Maybe you’re a carpool DJ outside office hours. No matter your mode, send us a photo and a story of your commute to inspire others!
Disclaimer: By sending King County Metro your story you agree that your story and photo can be shared without limitations including but not limited to KBCS radio’s “Unmute the Commute” program.
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Paige