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testdriveadFree Program Will Help Students Learn How to Utilize Transit for the Trip to and From Class

Since Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) first launched its Try & Ride program in the summer of 2014, the initiative has helped more than 3,800 workday commuters learn how to navigate the St. Louis’ area’s transit system and experience the many benefits of using MetroLink and MetroBus. Now, CMT has announced it is expanding the program to give students commuting to and from college campuses the opportunity to “test drive” MetroLink and MetroBus, and experience, first-hand, how advantageous transit use can be for the school commute.

In addition to helping college students learn how to use the region’s transit system, the Try & Ride program is designed to help students gain greater access to resources and amenities in the area, while also helping to improve mobility and independence for individuals who don’t drive or don’t have regular access to a vehicle for personal use. Students will also benefit from the cost-savings of using less gas, while avoiding the hassles of traffic and on-campus parking. Instead, they are able to use their commute time to relax, study or scan their favorite social media channels.

“What many people may not realize is that 90 percent of the colleges and trade schools in the St. Louis area are accessible by transit, and 25 percent of Metro riders are commuting to school,” said Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “We are confident that once students try transit, they will quickly realize all the benefits it has to offer, and make it part of their regular academic commute.”

The Try & Ride program is open to anyone in Missouri or Illinois who is new to the St. Louis region’s public transportation system, and willing to commit to using transit for two consecutive months. Those interested in registering may do so via the CMT website or by calling 314-231-7272. Upon registering, program participants are mailed a packet containing a personalized transit route for their work or school commute, one month’s worth of complimentary fare tickets, a journal that can be used for documenting their transit journey and a list of tips and tricks for using transit. Registration in the Try & Ride program also enrolls participants in the Guaranteed Ride Home program, which provides transit users with a cab ride home or rental car in case of emergency or an unexpected schedule change.

Try & Ride student participants are required to travel to campus via MetroLink or MetroBus three to four days per week over a two-month period, and take two, short surveys along the way, designed to provide CMT with user insight and help the organization track the progression of the program. There is no fee to participate in the Try & Ride program. The only out-of-pocket expense is the cost of the second month of the participant’s fare. However, CMT reminds students that many local colleges and universities offer customized University Passes, known as U-Passes, which cover all or part of the cost of Metro passes for students.

“It’s been really incredible to see how many workday commuters have taken advantage of the Try & Ride program over the past two years, and to also see how many of them are continuing to use transit beyond the program’s two-month commitment,” said Cella. “This demonstrates that once workday commuters try transit, they are experiencing how great it is, and sticking with it. Now, we want to give students the chance to see how easy and convenient transit use can be for their commute to and from class.”

First launching in June 2014, the Try & Ride program for workday commuters surpassed its two-year participation goal of 1,500 riders in just six months. Currently, the program has 3,800 participants and is on track to positively impact many more lives with its roll out to students. Find out more today.

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