Dump the Pump, Jump on the Bus

Forget the high gas prices Thursday and jump on a bus, bike or train.

That's the message being touted in the Southland and across the country to mark the fourth annual National Dump the Pump Day, a campaign sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association to raise awareness of the financial and environmental benefits of public transportation and ridesharing.

"Utilizing public transportation is the easiest way to beat high gas prices and alleviate stress associated with California traffic," said Adam Emmer, Burbank's transportation manager.

Burbank is one of many cities and transportation agencies that will be offering free bus rides in support of the effort. Foothill Transit riders can get free coupons by logging onto the agency's website. Ticket coupons are also available at Foothill Transit stores in Claremont, El Monte, Pomona, Puente Hills or West Covina.

Officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimated that commuters who make a permanent change to public transit or join a carpool or vanpool can save nearly $9,000 annually, based on May gas prices.

The Metro vanpool program includes more than 800 pools. Commuters can receive a $400 per month subsidy to lower the leasing cost of each vehicle. Those interested can find a seat in an existing pool or calculate potential savings.

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