They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is most certainly such a thing as a free ride: Area public transportation providers – as well as those across the country – will be providing free rides on Thursday, April 25.  It’s part of a new national awareness and advocacy day – National Get On Board Day – meant to get more people familiar with public transportation, including those who don’t usually – or who never – use that form of transit.

The day is also meant to promote more awareness of the importance and efficiency of public transportation in the minds of elected officials and other leaders who play a role in shaping public transportation systems.

What that means for area riders – or those who just want to try it out at no cost for a day – is that the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART), the Greensboro Transit Authority, the High Point Transit System and the Winston-Salem Transit Authority are all providing free rides to all passengers on every route, including paratransit service, on April 25.  If one so chooses, he or she could start riding early in the morning that day and continue riding well into the night on various routes just for the fun of it, even with no particular destination in mind.

Across the county, most other public transportation systems will also be offering free trips as part of National Get On Board Day.

The idea of using public transportation may gain some new popularity as gas prices in the Piedmont Triad and across the country continue to rise.  Other benefits cited by advocates of public transit are a reduction in pollution, the conservation of fuel and other resources and less traffic.

One side benefit is that users of public transportation may get lucky and meet the love of their lives on the public transit system and they may then get married and live happily ever after.  Of course, at times fellow riders can also be very frightening as well.  Regardless, for those who want to try out the experience, it will be free for them to do so on April 25.

The day is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which says the day “encourages people to support public transportation and showcases the benefits it brings to communities.”

According to that group, every weekday, across the country, 34 million people use public transportation.  The group claims that every $1 invested in public transportation generates about $4 in economic returns, which, they say, powers “community growth and revitalization”.