Officials encouraging commuters to avoid using personal vehicles for Dump the Pump Day

Promotions available for participating commuters

SAN DIEGO - Area transit officials encouraged commuters to avoid using their personal vehicles Thursday, on national Dump the Pump Day.

The San Diego Association of Governments, Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District called for people to use public transportation, carpools, vanpools, or bike or walk to work.

"Gas prices are still at historic highs," Rob Schupp of the MTS told a local media outlet. "You know, in 2008, they peaked at $4.25 and people were outraged. Well, the gas prices are still high, and you can save a whole lot of money" by using alternate forms of transportation.

Several commuters said they would be more willing to use public transportation if routes were closer to home.

"I live in the College Area and you don't see a lot of the bus stops, so you have to walk a couple of miles to the bus stops," a man told the media outlet.

Transit officials greeted commuters during the morning rush at the Old Town and Escondido transit centers to thank them for their patronage and hand out bottles of juice or water. They also provided information about special offers for alternative transportation.

The promotions include drawings for $50 grocery store gift cards for those who log their alternative trips to work on the iCommute trip tracker at 511SD.com/icommute, and subsidies and discounts for starting vanpools.

Commuters at the Old Town Transit Center event also entered a drawing for a $25 Best Buy gift card or a regional 30-day pass on the MTS Compass Card -- a smart card for rides on MTS or NCTD buses, trains and trolleys.

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