Red Deerians were encouraged to leave their cars at home and find other ways to get around the city on Clean Air Day.
The national event, which raises awareness and encourages action on clean air and climate change issues, was Wednesday.
“There are environmental reasons we should be worried about air quality, but there are also health reasons. We want to make sure that clean air equals good health for Red Deerians,” said Lauren Maris, City of Red Deer environmental program specialist.
Maris said air quality is “good” most days in Red Deer, but the city has failed to meet national standards in the past, specifically for fine particulate matter.
Residents can do their part to improve air quality, Maris said.
“Transportation is a significant contribute to air pollution in Red Deer. People can try riding their bike, walking, rollerblading, taking public transit or carpooling – there are lots of different options.”
All Red Deer residences should be within 500 metres of a bus stop, said Maris.
“But we know it can be challenging for some people, which is why we wanted to make today a free opportunity for people to give (transit) a shot.”
Maris also said people shouldn’t worry about working up a bit of a sweat if they choose to bike or walk to work in the morning.
“Using active transportation is such a great way to get fired up in the morning, and then to let the work day go at the end of the day.
“There are a lot of benefits for us as individuals – we just need to get past those barriers we put up with ourselves,” she said.
While the final numbers aren’t in, Maris said the free transit service was popular Wednesday.
“One of my colleagues who took the bus this morning said she saw more people take the bus than she did yesterday. In the past, we have seen an increase in ridership on Clean Air Day,” she said.