April 25th is a good day to ditch the car and take public transport. You just might get a free ride for doing so, too.
That’s because the American Public Transportation Association has designated April 25 as national Get on Board Day to raise awareness of the importance of robust transport systems to our lives and to our communities.
Transit agencies marked this special day with a host of fun, stimulating activities. There’s the Celebration bus or train decked out in exuberant Get on Board Day art. There’s the game to guess who is the ride’s mystery announcer, a local celebrity. There’s the prize for the elected official who takes the most trips on public transit.
And then there are the many, free rides offered by agencies to encourage people to take the bus or train more frequently.
But beyond the fanfare and the freebies is a powerful message. Public transport improves lives, helps the economy and saves the environment, too.
For one, taking public transportation is safer than driving a car. According to APTA, a person reduces the risk of an accident by more than 90 percent simply by opting for a public ride. Public transit also improves the quality of life for people with mobility constraints – seniors remain active while the differently abled increase their access to employment opportunities.
Secondly, the economic benefits of public transport are huge. APTA estimates that every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns. Every $10-million capital investment in public transportation results in a $30-million increase in business sales. More than 50,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion invested in public transit.
On a micro level, households who make do with one less vehicle, commuting publicly, can save as much as $10,000 annually.
And the benefits don’t stop there. We are all familiar with how public transportation helps the sustainability effort by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Just think of this one statistic, from APTA - when you take public transport instead of a car, you help save 4.2 billion gallons of gas a year. For a lot of people, that’s enough cause to make every day a Get on Board Day.
Public transportation increasingly matters at a time when we confront numerous environmental, urban and social challenges. It connects us to one another, to jobs and opportunities, to our lived experiences and future selves. It keeps us safer, healthier, with more money in the pocket and a wealth of choices for getting around.
So, today, let’s happily get on board the bus, train or streetcar and step up to support our public transit systems and the people who continuously run them safely and on time. Let’s take to today’s ride with a shared, broader understanding of public transit’s transformative value to society.
Trapeze cheers on National Get on Board Day’s many, enthusiastic participants - the daily commuters and today’s celebratory riders and all those in the industry, government, and communities working to create better, safer public transportation systems. Here’s to a great ride, on April 25th and every day, on public transport!
Joyce Fernandez is a contract Content Marketing Writer for Trapeze Group.