Metra is joining with the American Public Transportation Association to urge drivers to “Dump the Pump” on Thursday and enjoy the many benefits of riding mass transit – and taking Metra to the Blackhawks celebration will be a great way to try our trains.
“Our regular, loyal Metra riders know that we provide safe, reliable, affordable and comfortable service throughout the six-county Chicago area,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “Today we’re trying to convince area residents who still use their cars that they’re better off ‘dumping the pump’ and boarding one of our trains.”
Last year, Metra provided 83.4 million passenger trips – the second-highest ridership in its history. Nationwide in 2014, Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation – the highest in 58 years.
The advantages of public transportation are numerous and well-documented. First, it’s cheaper than driving. By the time you add up all the costs of a car – gas, parking, insurance, wear and tear – a Metra monthly pass starts to look like a real bargain. Don’t believe it? Try this fuel savings calculator to see how much you can save by riding Metra.
Using mass transit also reduces congestion. According to a recent study, the average Chicago driver spends more than 50 hours a year stuck in traffic, with the lost time and additional gas adding up to $1,153 a year. Think of how much more time you’ll have, how much more money you’ll save, by dumping the pump.
And think about all the drivers who would be on area roads if Metra was not an option. We calculate that the Chicago area would need 27 more lanes of expressways to handle all the cars on the road if Metra didn’t exist. And cutting congestion also helps the environment, by cutting emissions from all those idling cars and trucks.
According to APTA, the latest research shows that in 2011, U.S. public transportation use saved 856 million hours in travel time, 450 million gallons of fuel, and $21 billion in congestion costs in 498 urban areas.
And mass transit helps the economy. According to APTA, every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns, and every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates more than 50,000 jobs.
Mass transit isn’t just for day-to-day commuters. Metra offers plenty of off-peak and weekend service that Chicagoans can use to get to scores of summer events and activities. Our $8 weekend pass and Family Fares can help you get even more bang for your buck. Take a train downtown this weekend. Up to three children 11 years old and younger ride FREE with a fare-paying adult!
And don’t forget our trial of express weekend service on the Rock Island Line, which started June 6 and lasting through Nov. 29. We’ve added express trains on Saturdays and Sundays that will speed the trip between suburban stations and downtown Chicago by about 20 minutes. For more information, go to www.metrarail.com.
The RTA wants first-time and veteran transit riders to log onto the RTA’s Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/ChicagoRTA, click the tab “#dumpthepump”, pledge to Dump the Pump and be automatically entered for a chance to win prizes. The RTA also is asking riders to spread the word about how they Dump the Pump on their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts using the hashtag: #dumpthepump. In addition, riders are encouraged to share the RTA’s social media posts about Dump the Pump with their friends and family.
Learn more about Dump the Pump Day at www.RTAChicago.org.