Significantly fewer people took BART during the first Spare the Air day of the year Wednesday compared with last year when BART offered free rides only until 1 p.m. for the first time.
BART ridership increased by 6,700 passengers Wednesday, compared with the average increase of 25,166 riders during free ride days last year.
The 2 percent increase of people who rode BART yesterday saved about 294,800 pounds of pollutants from spewing into the air. Last year’s free rides spared the air from an average of 1.1 million pounds of pollutants during no-cost trip days.
There were also fewer people who took advantage of the Golden Gate ferry Wednesday compared with last year’s free ride days.
During the six Spare the Air days last year, BART was free all day. The change was made to help prevent crime and safety concerns. Also, funding for four Spare the Air days is available for free rides until 1 p.m. whereas three days would have been available for all-day free rides.