Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Free Transit on Smog Days

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Free Transit on Smog Days

Article excerpt

IF THE AIR IS BAD, everyone rides for free in Windsor, Ontario. Windsor is the first city in Canada to offer free transit on provincially designated "smog advisory days". The program lasted for the month of July, which included four smog days.

A smog advisory is declared when forecasts indicate that there is a high probability that the Air Quality Index may exceed a reading of 50 over a wide geographic area in the following 24 hours.

Six of the seven major air pollutants in Windsor come from cars and light trucks, according to a report by city council. So getting people to stop driving is a key step to better air. City councillors hoped the initiative would encourage more people to leave their vehicles at home and use the transit system instead.

Initial results suggest the pilot has achieved this goal. On the first smog day, ridership was 28 percent higher when compared to the average weekday, and 36 percent higher than the same day in the previous week (a Thursday). …

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