Triangle mass transit free for a day

September 22, 2008 8:54:08 PM PDT
With gas prices still pushing $4 a gallon, more and more people are taking the bus to work.

Those who have considered the option now have an extra incentive. Monday all bus rides are free throughout the Triangle.

Neil Davis works in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina. If he could catch a bus all the way from Wendell, he would.

But he's glad to cut 50 miles a day off his trip, taking a bus that costs much less than gas.

Davis has a theory about why more people don't join him.

"I'm actually from Chicago originally and it seems that some people down here are a little afraid of mass transit," Davis said. "So, I think it's good to get people, you know, encourage people to use it."

Despite more crowded buses as gas prices rise, many who ride daily don't seem bothered by the possibility of even more people taking advantage of a one-day free pass.

In fact, many regular mass transit riders hope today's freebie will encourage a lot more to get on buses. They say the more that get on, the better chance we have at better mass transit.

"There was talk about light rail, but that got shut down because they said there wasn't gonna be ridership," Davis said. "So, if we can show ridership it's still on the table. Charlotte's shown that it can work even in these smaller, spread out cities."

And with the price at the pump quick to go up and slow to go down, mass transit in the Triangle may actually have a bright future.