By Lookout Staff
September 27, 2023 -- Regular riders and those who never take public transit can hop on a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus (BBB) for free next Wednesday to support clean air initiatives, agency officials announced Tuesday.
BBB also will offer free rides to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) students Monday through Friday next week.
Wednesday's free rides are part of California Clean Air Day, "a statewide program built on the idea that shared experiences and individual actions can improve air quality and protect public health," officials said.
Individuals and organizations can take the Clean Air Pledge and commit to one or more actions to advance clean air, including riding public transportation. Take the Clean Air Pledge online at: cleanairday.org/pledge/individual/bbb/
Throughout the week, BBB will celebrate Bike It! Walk It! Bus It! by offering free rides to SMMUSD students.
During the week, "families are encouraged to forego driving in favor of eco-friendly modes of transportation, like walking, biking, or taking transit to school," officials said.
The week-long celebration includes events, activities and training sesions "designed to encourage kids to adopt active and sustainable transportation, and lessen dependence on fossil fuels."
SMMUSD students who don't have a GoPass TAP card can show a valid school ID, report card or class schedule to the bus driver when boarding for free rides.
“The Santa Monica Department of Transportation continues to invest in developing a safe and complete multi-modal transportation network that supports healthy and active communities,” said Anuj Gupta, the department's interim director.
BBB plans to convert its entire renewable natural gas fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and is completing enhancements to support on-site charging for nearly 200 vehicles, officials said.
They note that transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the State.
“By offering free fares during the week of October 2, Big Blue Bus is lowering barriers to eco-friendly transportation, which aligns with our strategic goal of reducing our carbon footprint and fostering climate resiliency,” Gupta said.