In an effort to raise awareness of public transit and healthier lifestyles in Polk County, Polk County Transit Services, Citrus Connection, Winter Haven Area Transit (W.H.A.T.), and the Florida Department of Transportation District One’s Commuter Services Program, have joined together to host Polk County “Try Transit ” Day Wednesday, Oct. 27.
There will be free bus service all day, giving participants a no-cost opportunity to learn about Polk County’s bus systems and try out public transit to various destinations in the county. Citrus Connection services the Lakeland area, with connections to Bartow, Winter Haven, Pinedale, Bradley and Pierce; Winter Haven Area Transit (W.H.A.T.) services the Winter Haven area, with connections in Lake Alfred, Haines City, Bartow, Auburndale, Fort Meade, Frostproof, and Lakeland.
In an effort to support public transportation and recognize Try Transit Day participants, Commuter Services will be encouraging riders to track transit trips using its new program called “Trip Track.” This online system will calculate individual savings in dollars, pounds of pollutants, miles on the roadway and other features. A competition has been initiated among Polk businesses and colleges. Two Try Transit trophies will be awarded to a business and a college with the most participants who log a trip using Trip Track on Try Transit Day. Individuals that track trips will be entered in random prize drawings.
“On behalf of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, I encourage residents, visitors, and employees alike to use this day to try our county’s bus systems, Citrus Connection and W.H.A.T.,” said Polk County Commission and Commuter Services Ambassador Jean Reed. “Try-Transit Day is a great opportunity for all to see the many benefits of public transportation – healthier lifestyles, less traffic congestion, improved air quality, increased mobility and a better sense of community. This is a chance for everyone to be proactive,” said Reed.
“Changes in travel behavior, as well as changes in some worksite operations can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce a worksite’s overall carbon footprint,” said FDOT District One’s Commuter Services Program Director Christine Diaz. “Considering that one gallon of gas produces 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, even small changes in commuting behavior and fuel usage can have a positive impact on the environment,” Diaz said.
“The goal of the Try-It Day is to encourage people to try other options besides driving their cars for local trips,” said Dave Walters, Polk County Transit Services Communications Specialist. “In these economic times we all need to think outside the car and think about our environment.”
Citrus Connection and W.H.A.T. route maps are available at area libraries, employment agencies, government office buildings, hospitals, Chamber of Commerce locations and various area businesses and shopping centers. Route and fare information can also be obtained at http://www.ridecitrus.com or www.polk-county.net/transit.
Bicycle racks are available on the front of the Citrus Connection and W.H.A.T. buses so anyone wishing to ride a bike to the bus stop can then take it along and continue riding to his/her destination.
Members of the Board of County Commissioners may be present during this event.
For more information on the “Transit Try-It Day” event or the Commuter Services program, call Commuter Services Program Director Christine Diaz at 1-866-585-RIDE (7433), CustomerService@CommuterServicesFL.com or visit: www.CommuterServicesFL.com. For more information about Polk County Transit Services, call 534-5500. to learn more about Citrus Connection or W.H.A.T. call 688-RIDE (7433).