Spare the Air turnout down on Bay ferries

If ridership numbers from two public transit agencies are any indication, fewer people took advantage of Spare the Air day on Wednesday than on the average free transit day in 2006, and it may stem from most agencies cutting off free service at 1 p.m. for the first time.

Figures from BART, AC Transit, Caltrain and ACE Train won’t be available until this morning, but the two groups that did release its figures indicated that fewer people took the free ride. The Air Quality Program Manager for Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Wednesday that Bay Area residents will be offered a second day of free transit service today.

The Golden Gate Larkspur Ferry saw a 31 percent increase in ridership compared with a typical day. Last year, the ferry averaged a 93 percent increase during Spare the Air days, including a 117 percent increase July 21, the last free day of transit before Wednesday.

The much smaller Golden Gate Sausalito Ferry saw its passenger turnout increase by 209 percent Wednesday over a normal day. That compares with an average increase of 326 percent during last year’s Spare the Air days.

The good news for public transit is that the numbers may be down because the people who took free rides last year are now everyday users, said Terry Lee, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Both ferries have witnessed an average increase of overall users this year compared with last year.

The free rides were cut off at 1 p.m. this year because of overcrowding that often caused safety and crime concerns, district spokeswoman Karen Schkolnick said.

But Lee said the numbers from today’s free ride services probably won’t be up much, either.

Officials also attributed the decrease to the lack of extreme temperatures this week, compared with the more-than-100-degree heat wave that hit the Bay Area last July.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Video surfaces amid George Floyd death fallout showing SF police kneeling on man’s neck

Teen says he struggled to breathe during arrest: ‘I felt like I was going to die’

Mayor Breed declares curfew after anti-police brutality march ends in looting, vandalism

Mayor London Breed announced a curfew Saturday night and asked the National… Continue reading

‘Extremely disturbing’: SF police chief condemns death of George Floyd

Bill Scott joins SFPOA, top cops nationwide in deeming incident a failure of policing

Haight Street group drops ties with prominent pro-Trump attorney

Amoeba, other merchants filed lawsuit seeking to block ‘Safe Sleeping’ site on Stanyan

CCSF board votes to close Fort Mason campus

College dropping lease on waterfront site to help close projected deficit

Most Read