Commuters Encouraged to “Dump the Pump” on June 15 for Opportunity to Win Prizes

Campaign Reinforces the Benefits of Taking Transit and Incentivizes People to Give it a Try

Public transit is the region’s “golden ticket” to a safe, more cost-effective and hassle-free way for St. Louis area residents to get where they need to go. To help reinforce this message, Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT), Metro Transit and St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) are encouraging area commuters to give transit a try on Thursday, June 15, which is National Dump the Pump Day. Those who take transit that day will witness the benefits of this viable commuting option and be eligible to win prizes. 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.

Nearly 100 branded envelopes touting “Dump the Pump to Win. Public Transit is your Golden Ticket.” will be hidden on MetroLink, MetroBuses, Metro Call-A-Ride and SCCTD’s Flyer Service vehicles, as well as at Metro Transit Centers on both sides of the river. Each will have a prize enclosed, as well as information about the many benefits of taking transit and the availability of CMT’s Try & Ride Program, which provides new riders, who are unfamiliar with the transit system, with complimentary transit tickets for one month, giving riders time to get on board and learn the system. Those who find a “Golden Ticket” inside an envelope will have captured one of the grand prizes, including a $100 gift card to Amazon, one year’s worth of free transit, four St. Louis Riverboat Cruise tickets, and two tickets to the St. Louis Cardinals game against the Washington Nationals on July 15. Other prizes range from free daily and monthly fare passes to gift cards to establishments accessible via the MetroLink system.

Transit ambassadors will also be at the Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44, Clayton, Brentwood I-64, Maplewood, Belleville, Fairview Heights and Emerson Park Transit Centers from 7 to 8:30 a.m. on June 15 handing out PAYDAY candy bars with a QR code that allows commuters to calculate the cost savings associated with taking public transit.

“Gas, parking prices, vehicle maintenance and car insurance are costly,” commented Kimberly Cella, executive director of Citizen for Modern Transit. “According to the American Public Transit Association, a two-person household can save as much as $10,000 annually by downsizing to one car and using public transit. This campaign is designed to help St. Louisans better understand these and the many other benefits of public transit and its ability to get them where they need to go. Transit can be your own personal payday each day.”

To learn more, visit For more information on the link between sustainable transportation and air quality, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website at

High Ozone Concentrations Result in Early Surge of Poor Air Quality Days in the St. Louis Region

Coming on the heels of Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer, the bi-state St. Louis region has experienced a string of poor air quality days and record-setting temperatures this week, with more 90°+ days on the horizon. Having already experienced more “orange” days earlier in the ozone season than in years past, the importance of keeping the region’s air clean is at an all-time high as weather conditions continue to play a significant role in our region’s daily air quality.

Ozone is created when heat and sunlight react with nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted from motor vehicles, industrial facilities, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents and dozens of other sources. Ozone gas is a powerful lung irritant that reacts with the delicate lining of the airways once inhaled, causing inflammation and other damage that can impact multiple body systems.

“When ozone levels are high, many people experience breathing problems that can be felt right away,” said Susannah Fuchs, Director of Clean Air for the American Lung Association in Missouri. “Very simply put, it’s kind of like a sunburn on your lungs.”

Immediate problems include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, increased risk of respiratory infections, increased susceptibility to pulmonary inflammation, and increased need for people with lung diseases like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to receive medical treatment or go to the hospital. Studies also show that long-term exposure to ozone pollution may increase the risk of premature death, even in some cases for healthy young adults.

With that in mind, there are a number of things individuals can do to minimize exposure to ozone pollution to help them breathe easier. The Clean Air Partnership releases daily air quality forecasts to let residents know what the air quality will be during the prime of summer. Signing up to receive the color-coded forecast at helps to ensure St. Louisans know what the next day’s air quality is forecast to be and if they should take precaution by altering their outdoor activities to avoid being exposed to polluted air, particularly on orange or red “ozone action days.” These warnings are especially important for sensitive populations, including children and teens, anyone 65 or older, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with existing lung or cardiovascular diseases.

Additionally, given that transportation-related emissions have always been one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, the Partnership encourages locals to take action for cleaner air by choosing not to idle your vehicles, avoiding topping off your gas tank, telecommuting, and combining errands into a single trip. Carpooling, ridesharing and taking transit can also greatly impact the amount of ozone-forming emissions on any given day and improve lung health overall.

To access a wealth of information and additional tips to help clear the air and protect human health during the peak of ozone season, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website, like us on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.