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The City of Oklahoma City

Central Oklahoma Enters Ozone Alert Season After a Record Breaking 2012

METRO Transit Offers Free Bus Rides for Ozone Alert Season Starting May 17

(May 9, 2013) – Last year, a record number of 19 ozone alert days were declared in central Oklahoma. Hot temperatures, calm winds and sunshine with no cloud cover are the ingredients for an ozone alert day. As Oklahoma enters ozone alert season, citizens are asked to do their part to keep pollution down.

“Breathing in ozone is similar to getting a sunburn on your lungs,” said Jenny Brown, health promotions coordinator with the American Lung Association, Oklahoma City office. “It causes the lining of the lungs to become irritated and inflamed. Ozone affects everyone, even people with perfectly healthy lungs, but it is especially harmful to the approximately 32,000 children and 89,000 adults who struggle with asthma in central Oklahoma.”

In an effort to make citizens of central Oklahoma more aware of local air quality issues, METRO Transit is offering free bus service on the third Friday of every month during ozone season, May through September, beginning May 17.

Motor vehicles are a prime contributor to air pollution. One of the best ways to improve air quality is to get people out of their single-passenger cars and into carpools and public transportation.

Each METRO Transit bus has the potential to take 35 cars off the road, greatly reducing carbon dioxide emissions. According to the American Public Transportation Association, for every mile traveled on public transit, riders will produce 95 percent less carbon dioxide than driving.

“People who ride the bus not only contribute less to poor air quality, there are other health benefits to taking transit such as more exercise through walking or riding bikes to the bus stop and less stress from driving and sitting in traffic,” said  Michael Scroggins, public information manager with METRO Transit.

The third Friday free program was piloted by METRO Transit in the summer of 2011 and resulted in an 11 percent increase in ridership compared to the previous year, generating 4,660 more trips for the same period of June through September. The 2012 program saw a nine percent increase over 2011, generating 4,530 more trips for the same period.

This year, Metro Transit will be offering free rides on the third Friday of each month during ozone alert season, May through September. Any time on May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16 or September 20, on any route in the Greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area, METRO Transit bus rides are free for everyone.

“Free ride days will also allow people who haven’t ridden before a chance to try the service at no cost while visiting the many entertainment and family-friendly venues available through our bus routes,” said Scroggins.

To learn more about METRO Transit and view bus schedules and routes, visit gometro.org or call (405) 235-RIDE (7433) for personal assistance from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more about carpooling or to be matched with someone in your area, visit www.getaroundok.com

Media Contact:  Michael Scroggins, Public Information Officer
Office:  (405) 297-2107 / Mobile:  (405) 837-9510
michael.scroggins@okc.gov

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