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Transit agencies throughout the state waive fares for the month of August

Light rail at the at the Federal Center Station in Lakewood
Luis Licon
Light rail at the Federal Center Station in Lakewood. For the month of August transit riders can use the light rail, buses, and more RTD services at no cost.

More than thirty transit agencies around the state are waiving fares for the month of August, thanks to an initiative aimed at reducing air pollution.

The Zero Fare For Better Air initiative hopes to tackle air pollution during the year's hottest month, by encouraging commuters to take public transportation instead of driving.

Marta Sipeki, the Interim Assistant General Manager of Communications for the Regional Transportation District, the largest public transit agency in the state, says the initiative is a grant program that was created by Colorado Senate bill 22-180 in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office.

"So the energy office is providing a grant to RTD of nearly $8.7 million, and RTD is providing an additional $2.1 million to be able to provide zero fare service during the month of August," said Sipeki.

Transit riders can use all of RTD's services at no cost including bus, light rail, commuter rail, and the Access-A-Ride para-transit service.

Sipeki says after the program ends, RTD will evaluate its success.

"We will be conducting a customer survey after the Zero Fare for Better Air August to find out how our customers enjoyed the program, how they liked the program. We will also be doing an internal survey too, to see what effects it had on our employees and front-line staff," said Sipeki.

RTD hopes the program will encourage people to continue to use public transit after August.

"So it's been said that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so during the month of August, we are giving customers 31 days to hop on the system and form a new travel habit," said Sipeki.

This story from KGNU was shared with Aspen Public Radio via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico including Aspen Public Radio.

Luis Licon is an intern in news department at KGNU. He is a BA student studying political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder.