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Take the bus! Cache Valley riders cash in to improve air, win prizes

February 17th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Seth Merrill

LOGAN—Aggie Shuttle, Cache Valley Transit District and the Cache Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the Cache in for Clean Air program, which will run until the end of the month. The contest encourages residents to use buses instead of cars during the inversion-heavy months of January and February by offering prizes from local businesses.

Cache in for Clean Air“The idea behind it is it’s a community event to promote awareness about the importance of maintaining air quality and the use of alternative transportation,” said Randy Park, manager of marketing and planning for CVTD. “It also promotes local businesses.”

CVTD and Aggie Shuttle riders participate by receiving raffle tickets from bus drivers each day they ride the bus. They can fill out and take the ticket to any one of 26 participating vendors, including Walmart, Lee’s Market, USU Campus Store and Mountain America Credit Union.

A drawing will be held the first week of March, with each vendor offering prizes or gift certificates worth at least $100. Winners will be notified by phone or email and have 30 days to collect their prize.

Alden Erickson, bus operations supervisor for Aggie Shuttle, partnered with CVTD to promote the contest on campus, He says there has been a great response from participating businesses.

“The vendors have been very gracious and easy to work with,” Erickson said. “We just call them up and they are more than happy to donate and get involved.”

Park said free advertising and exposure is a big draw for businesses to participate in the Clean Air program, but it also provides them an opportunity to give back to the community.

homepagepic2“They like people coming through their door to support their business,” Park said. “Hopefully, when you go turn in your ticket and enter to win the $100 prize, you will patronize their business. Even if you don’t win, many of the businesses will offer discounts and coupons to those who participate.”

Park said 1,500 bus riders submitted tickets in last year’s contest. He expects more participation this year because of a steady increase in CVTD ridership.

Erickson said the Clean Air program is one reason shuttle ridership is increasing every year.

“It’s a simple way to get people on the bus,” Erickson said. “Last year we had about 1 million rides, and this year we are looking to do about 1.2 million. Ridership is already pretty high, but we’ve had some new people who saw the contest and thought they’d try riding the bus.”

A survey on the back of each ticket helps CVTD gauge how many riders are new to public transportation, Park said. This information is used in planning and securing funding for future additions to CVTD services.

“We are working on a plan to expand service,” Park said. “We want to have buses running more often, and are looking to have routes that will go directly from Providence or Hyrum all the way to the university. We’ve got some technology improvements up our sleeve, like applications for iPhones that allow you to see exactly where the bus is.”

As the valley’s population increases and gas prices rise, Park said, the ultimate goal is making alternative transportation accessible to as many people as possible.

“Right now, we just want to serve the Cache Valley area and improve overall transportation for the future,” Park said.

Click here for Cache in for Clean Air contest rules and a list of participating vendors.


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