Think outside the four-wheel box

A gathering Friday will let commuters know of options to get from point A to point B.

Published September 27, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - Residents looking to conserve gasoline and save money can take advantage of the Festival on First Central Tower Plaza on Friday to learn more about bay area commuting options.

The event takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Central Avenue and Fourth Street.

The festival is the culmination of the 10th annual Commuter's Choice Week, an awareness campaign hosted by Bay Area Commuter Services, or BACS, a nonprofit commuter assistance program serving Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

Commuters Choice Week promotes the economic, environmental and health benefits of alternative transportation, said Sandi Moody, executive director of BACS.

"Anything other than driving by yourself," Moody said.

BACS workers will offer registration forms for the local ride share program, a computerized database that matches applicants with carpool options based on home and work locations.

But carpooling is just one choice for bay area commuters, Moody said.

"Getting from point A to point B isn't always about a car," she said. "It's everybody's responsibility to get educated."

Motorists will be given commitment cards, which hold the promise of using at least one alternative method of transportation during the week.

Local business owners are encouraged to order free BACS commitment cards and posters.

Participants who return the completed cards will be eligible for prizes.

The event is co-sponsored by the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Free pizza will be provided from Hungry Howie's.

For more information, visit www.tampabayrideshare.org or call 1-800-998-7433.

To save gas, anxiety

- Bike or walk to work.

- Use public transportation.

- Sign up for car and van pools.

- "Telework" or work from home.

- Compress the work week.

Source: Bay Area Commuter Services