Friday to be 10th Spare the Air Day of year
- Published Thursday, August 31, 2006, by the San Francisco Chronicle
Friday will be 10th Spare the Air Day of year
By Bob Egelko
Chronicle Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO -- The forecast of a warm, smoggy day for Friday
prompted the regional air quality board to declare the 10th Spare
the Air Day of 2006 and urge commuters to use public transit, but
without the incentive of a free ride.
A $13 million allotment of federal, state and local funds allowed
the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to offer free fares on
25 local transit systems during six days this summer when pollution
reached unhealthy levels. The money ran out July 21, forcing
officials to appeal to riders' save-the-planet impulses without
the added lure of saving their pocket money.
The statistics so far are encouraging, said Luna Salaver,
spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. She
said transit ridership on the six free-fare days was up 225,000
from the usual 1.4 million.
On July 24, the only one of the three full-fare days to occur on a
weekday, ridership on BART, the only system with records available,
was 20,000 above the normal 320,000, only slightly below the
increases reported on the free-fare days.
Other recommendations to curb the ozone level include car-pooling,
postponing until the weekend errands that require driving, putting
off household projects that require painting, staining or
disinfecting, and making do without lighter fluid in Friday
barbecues, Salaver said.
The 10 Spare the Air Days this year compare to only one last year
and two in 2004, but are far short of the record of 25 in 1996,
E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@...