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Commuting | Free transit rides and prizes

by wcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on November 2, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 6:12 PM

Jeremy Markovich

NewsChannel 36 Producer

Say, do you like free things?

We mentioned this Monday on the news at 4 p.m., but from now until May 9, the Charlotte Area Transit System will give you free rides on a bus or train, so long as you show up with your bicycle. This is all part of Bike! Charlotte, a 10-day, two-wheeled extravaganza that runs through May 10.

RacknRide2.jpgI was overjoyed to get a free ride Monday night, after my ride home from the gym turned into a deluge, which I watched with a mocking sneer from the inside of a warm bus. Many thanks to the driver for remembering to give me a pro bono ride.

You could theoretically squeeze an infinite number of bikes into a LYNX train, much like sardines in a can. Each train has four bike hooks per car, provided the people sitting in front of them give up their seats. But here's the catch: each bus can only accommodate two bicycles in the front rack, so if it's full, you'll have to wait for the next one to come along. Hope you can find a bus stop with some shelter if you're trying that today. (Full disclosure: you'll be competing with me for a spot on the bus. I rode through the rain to work this morning).

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Two more quick things: Thursday is Don't Drive Day, where you could theoretically win prizes by getting to work without using your car, although carpooling is one of your options.

The idea is this: you don't drive, then you go on to dontdriveday.org by noon Friday and tell them that you didn't drive, and then you could win things like an iPod Touch, solar phone charger, programmable thermostat, and so on. You have to live in Mecklenburg or one of the nearby counties. There had been a glitch on the website earlier, but after an inquiry to CATS Tuesday morning, the inter-tubes were un-kinked and the site is up and running.

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Have you noticed fewer people jamming the roads on your way to work? So did some of the staff at public radio's Marketplace program. Here's their theory: It's not gas prices, but unemployment that's unclogging the interstates during rush hour. I asked the folks at Charlotte DOT about this last month, and they said they'd try and figure out whether there's actually less gridlock on our roads. Stay tuned.

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