Citizens for Modern Transit Reminds Commuters About its Try & Ride Program as Gas Prices Soar

As prices at the pump continue to rise, Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) – the region’s transit advocacy organization – is encouraging area residents to consider utilizing public transit this spring. The organization has a FREE Try & Ride program that makes it easy for those who are new to MetroLink or MetroBus to familiarize themselves with the region’s integrated system to get them where they need to go. With transportation-related emissions being one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, taking public transportation is also a great way to reduce harmful auto emissions to help keep the air quality in healthy ranges.

“Public transit is a safe, convenient and cost-effective transportation option, but many shy away from it because of the unknowns – including which route or line to take, how to purchase tickets and more,” commented Kimberly Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “The Try & Ride program addresses these concerns head-on. It has helped more than 6,000 individuals familiarize themselves with the system and has been credited with turning many first-time transit users into regular transit commuters.”

The Try & Ride program is open to any Missouri or Illinois residents who don’t already utilize the St. Louis region’s public transportation system for their workday commutes. Upon registering, each program participant receives personalized transit routes, a month of complimentary tickets, a journal to jot down reminders and a list of tips for using transit. The program requires riders to commit to utilizing the bus or train for one additional month at their own expense for a total of two months.

Additionally, registration automatically enrolls individuals in the Guaranteed Ride Home program, which provides subsidized access, a cab ride, rental car to ride-hailing services like Lyft in the case of an emergency or unexpected schedule change at work.

“A monthly transit pass is $78 and provides unlimited rides on the MetroLink and MetroBus,” added Cella. “This is an affordable means for traveling, especially considering gas is $4 a gallon.”

To learn more about CMT’s Try & Ride Program or to register, visit For more information on the link between sustainable transportation and our air quality, visit the Clean Air Partnership website at, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.


Spotlight On: The City of Alton

As a returning participant of the St. Louis Green Cities Challenge in 2021, the City of Alton remained committed to sustainable practices and programs that improve the health and quality of life of its community, making it a great place for individuals to live, work and play.

Founded in 1837 and located just 25 miles north of St. Louis, the City of Alton is full of historic charm, recreational opportunities, and business prospects. During the 2021 Challenge, Alton and other participating municipalities addressed sustainability within the range of operational requirements unique to their local governments, incorporated a sustainability policy and practiced fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development.

Leading these initiatives is the Alton Cool City Committee, which strives to create a greener community now and for the future. “The biggest challenges we face – climate change and increasing gaps of income inequality – are inescapably hitched together,” said Greg Caffey Director of Planning & Development for the City of Alton. “We live in complex, challenging times. With every tree planted and each street redesigned to be pedestrian and bike friendly, with each new solar installation and restoration of a historic building, and with every public meeting attended to address racism, sexism, or sustainability we contribute to a community strong with nature’s vitality and healthy neighborhoods for all people.”

Among the city’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge was the submission of an Illinois Solar For All (ILSFA) Environmental Justice Community Self-Designation application, which aims to bring solar power to areas that will benefit most from access to natural energy. This focus is based on the principle that all people should be protected from pollution and that all populations have a right to a clean and healthy environment. The city also executed an option agreement with Ameresco, Inc., a renewable energy and energy efficiency company, for the development of a solar farm at the former Alby Street landfill. Furthermore, the City of Alton worked to maintain a partnership with EPA Green Power Communities, which encourages large corporations; small and medium-sized businesses; local, state, and federal governments; non-profit institutions; and colleges and universities to use green power voluntarily to protect human health and the environment.

Additional green improvements were made in the community with the construction of the Alton Splash Pad Park that features nature-inspired play areas and interpretive displays about the Mississippi River and the importance of water stewardship. The City of Alton also amended its refuse collection agreement with Republic Services to increase the usage of recycling bins, volume pickup, and year-round recycling collection services, which helps to reduce the amount of waste that winds up in landfills and eliminates the production of harmful methane gases that pollute the air.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Alton and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit Registration for the 2022 Challenge is also open now. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spring Forward for Air Quality-Friendly Habits

As we prepare to “spring forward” one hour and adjust our clocks on Saturday night for Daylight Saving Time, that means the days will be getting longer, weather is about to get warmer and the sunshine will soon be chasing away what’s left of the winter blues. Though spring is in the air and warm weather activities that we’ve longed for are great fun, a rise in temperature can also lead to a greater risk of poor air quality conditions, which makes it good to remember that – when it comes to air quality – we can always continue to do our share for cleaner air. 

Thankfully, all it takes is a few small changes to incorporate sustainable and eco-friendly choices into our day-to-day routines. Here are some helpful tips to consider for living a greener lifestyle this spring and working to keep the air quality in healthy ranges: 

  • Walk, Bike or Take Public Transit – When weather conditions are favorable, replace car trips with walking, bicycling or using public transit to reduce air pollution. Area residents can also take advantage of other options such as carpooling or vanpooling to cut down on the number of solo commutes this spring. Fewer vehicles on the roads and highways means fewer automobile emissions, reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.
  • Greening Your Cleaning – By making environmentally conscious choices in the way you clean, you’ll make your home (and the planet) a healthier place to live and breathe for all. Consider creating your own products by mixing a little warm water with either baking soda or white vinegar for the perfect all-purpose cleaner. You can take green cleaning one step further by opting for rags from cut up old clothes, towels, or sheets that can be washed and reused any time instead of paper towels to reduce waste and save money on paper products. 
  • Clear Out the Clutter – Spring cleaning is the perfect time to go through closets and get rid of the things you no longer need or use. Rather than dumping everything into plastic trash bags, take a few extra minutes to dispose of them responsibly and sustainably. Keep items out of overcrowded landfills by asking family and friends if they have use for any of your unwanted items or donate them to charity!
  • Make Your Cookout a Greener Event – It wouldn’t be spring without spending time outdoors and dusting off the grill to enjoy a cookout with friends and family. Charcoal grills, however, release about twice as much carbon dioxide per hour as gas grills do, so you can do your share for cleaner air by using a gas barbecue grill instead. Also, if you’re going with gas, invest in a high-quality, energy efficient model and make sure the gas tanks are refillable to cut back on cost and harmful waste. 

There’s no better time to start practicing air-quality friendly habits than with a new season upon us. By incorporating some of these tips into your everyday life, you can help people all across the St. Louis region breathe easier this spring. For more great ways to achieve cleaner air year-round, explore the Clean Air Partnership website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. 

Spotlight On: Ameren Missouri

The St. Louis Green Business Challenge remained a leader of sustainability in the St. Louis region last year by continuing to deliver Triple Bottom Line results (fiscal, social and environmental) to businesses of all types and sizes across the bi-state area. Like the Clean Air Partnership, the Challenge focuses on encouraging and inspiring voluntary steps to help improve the environment and air quality in the region, and we’re pleased to highlight efforts of green businesses such as Ameren Missouri that continue to take action for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability.

A returning participant of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, Ameren Missouri strives to ensure all customers – including the underserved and vulnerable – will benefit from their efforts. Growing energy efficiency programs to include more St. Louis homes and businesses of all sizes saves money, energy and brings the company closer to its net-zero carbon emissions goal, which is why the company elected to develop and report on their Champion Innovation Project – Leading the Way to a Sustainable Energy Future – during the 2021 Challenge.

To help reach their goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Ameren Missouri continued to make transformative steps by adding 700 MW of wind power last year and a water reduction goal targeting 95% reduction in withdrawn water for thermal generation. Currently, recycled water is used at several company facilities with 99% of water withdrawn being discharged back to the environment.

Additionally, through Ameren Missouri’s Community Savers® Program, property owners, community managers and income-eligible customers can receive energy-saving products for their home, along with rebates when they make eligible energy efficient upgrades. Since October 2020, Ameren Missouri residential customers have received 17,279 zero cost Sensi and Nest smart thermostats to help cut down on costs and to control their energy use, which also positively benefits the region’s air quality!

Other noteworthy initiatives include a new Sustainability Employee Resource Group (SERG), which hosted a three-talk biodiversity lunch ‘n’ learn series and a company-wide, virtual sustainability scavenger hunt. Moreover, Ameren Missouri supported the successful launch of the St. Louis Vehicle Electrification Rides for Senior (SiLVERS) EV Program with charging station construction incentives to continue electrification efforts in underserved communities.

Looking ahead to a sustainable energy future, Ameren Missouri also established a Supply Chain Sustainability Department that has already engaged 92 top suppliers to discuss increasing focus on sustainable action within the company’s supply chain, in addition to updating their Supplier Code of Conduct to continue formalizing the internalization and defining of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) topics.

For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.