By Steve Jellinek
Calling it “an opportunity to show people that they don’t need their car every day,” Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone kicked off the first of two Huntington Area Rapid Transit bus system “Fare-Free Weeks” by taking a ride on one of the buses himself on Monday in Huntington.
Petrone said he believes giving people a chance to experience the HART systems for free will give them the incentive they need to continue using it.
Plus, he said, people “really have nothing to lose but to try it.”
“Fare-Free Weeks” is running in tandem with International Car Free Day, an idea that has spread to over 40 countries and is celebrated annually on Sept. 22. Car Free Day acts to reduce car pollution, free the streets of vehicular traffic and help raise the bar for attitudes towards cyclists, pedestrians, and others who do not get around via their cars.
Several residents were on hand to experience the first day of “Fare Free Weeks”, and express their opinions on the HART system and the Car Free Day plan. In Huntington, the fare free weeks will be held Sept. 21-26 and Sept. 28-Oct. 3 and available for all fixed-route transit on the HART system.
Commack resident Jordan Romano, who rides a HART bus almost every day, said that although the bus fare is affordable ($2 for adults), promoting the use of the HART for free, as well as other modes of public transport, is “good for the environment, good for the community, just good for the people in general.”
Michael Ronan, a Huntington resident, said he thinks the “Fare-Free Weeks” is a good thing for the community “to let people know it’s out there and that people can use it, access it, and just make their days better.”
In addition to promoting the HART system through the “Fares-Free Weeks,” Petrone also said the town is looking into expanding the HART system into the Route 110 corridor.