PUEBLO—The City of Pueblo participated in a one-month grant funded program called Zero Fare for Better Air which aimed to reduce CO2 emissions across the state of Colorado and increase ridership for public transportation. Pueblo Transit boasted a 58 percent increase in ridership and Citi-Lift increased passenger participation by 17 percent during the month of the initiative in comparison to August 2021 ridership participation.
“Pueblo Transit and Citi-Lift both saw incredible numbers of increased ridership during the Zero Fare for Better Air campaign,” said Director of Pueblo Transit Ben Valdez. “We know that this is a direct result of removing access barriers to our community members, partnering with local organizations for events and increasing the awareness of our services,” said Valdez.
During August of 2021 Pueblo Transit saw 38,980 riders in total and during the Zero Fare for Better Air initiative in 2022 Pueblo Transit saw an increase to 61,720 total riders, a 58 percent increase in ridership. Citi-Lift numbers during August 2021 totaled 4,211 and during the Zero Fare for Better Air initiative the ridership totaled 4,501 passengers, a 17 percent increase in ridership. This percentage increase in August 2022 is significant for both Pueblo Transit and Citi-Lift passenger usage.
Pueblo Transit looks to continue to partner with the community for other opportunities to remove access barriers to quality transportation and increase participation of use of services, especially coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased ridership is accomplished through providing transportation to community events like Pueblo Pride, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado Food Distribution and the Colorado State Fair shuttle which were all featured during the month of August.
Zero Fare for Better Air is managed by the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) with partnership from the Colorado Energy Office. The transit initiative received funding from state legislation SB22-180. The program chose the month of August due to Colorado’s highest ozone season throughout the month and the effort to reduce CO2 emissions with increased public transportation usage.
“We heard great feedback from our riders about how accessible our services are, and we are looking forward to finding more ways to better serve Pueblo for the transit needs of our community,” said Valdez.
The free fare initiative was available for both Pueblo Transit and Citi-Lift passengers across Pueblo. In addition to the campaign, Pueblo Transit hosted weekly drawings for a 35-day unlimited ride pass for Pueblo Transit and Citi-Lift passengers. One grand prize drawing was held on September 1 for a year-long free pass for one Pueblo Transit passenger and one for a Citi-Lift passenger. Ruben Chavez won the Pueblo Transit year-long pass and James Medina won the Citi-lift year-long pass from the grand prize drawings.
For more information about the Zero Fare for Better Air initiative visit https://coloradotransit.com/zero-fare-program/ and for more information about Pueblo Transit call 719-553-2752 or visit www.pueblo.us.