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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2019
Golden Empire Transit Providing Free Rides Due to Air Quality
Bakersfield, CA —Golden Empire Transit District (GET) will provide free rides Friday, August 16, 2019 due to an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 154. Bakersfield residents are encouraged to ride GET fixed-routes and GET-A-Lift all day, free of charge!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the AQI focuses on health effects a person may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. The EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: Ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. An AQI over 150 is considered unhealthy and potentially hazardous to the general population.
“GET is committed to the environment and exceptional customer service,” said Karen King, GET’s CEO. “Today we invite you to leave your cars parked and ride GET for free, all day, to avoid additional air pollution and to protect your health.” In 2018, GET provided four days of free public transit to Bakersfield residents. Higher temperatures accelerate the chemical reactions that form air pollutants.
Residents are encouraged to download the free San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District app to monitor air quality. The app is available for free on the App Store (Valley Air District) and Google Play (Valley Air). This is the official app of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District which monitors the AQI for the region.
Funding for AQI free rides on GET’s fixed-route and Get-A-Lift services is provided by a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant. The CMAQ program is a flexible federal‐aid funding source for transportation projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, specifically for the pollutants ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Within this general purpose, the program can fund a wide variety of projects, each project meeting three basic criteria: it must be a transportation project, it should generate an emissions reduction, and it should be located in or benefit a nonattainment or maintenance area.
GET was formed in July 1973 and is the primary public transportation provider for the Bakersfield Urbanized Area. It is the largest public transit system within a 110-mile radius. The District’s legal boundary includes Bakersfield city limits as well as adjacent unincorporated areas. GET has a fleet of 90 compressed natural gas buses equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks. GET serves 16 routes, operating 7 days a week and transporting more than 6 million passengers each year with its fixed-route buses. In addition, GET operates 21 compressed natural gas GET-A-Lift buses. For more information, visit www.getbus.org or call 869.2GET (2438).