Ride free on MCAT buses on Thursday

MANATEE -- Manatee County officials will offer a “free ride day” Thursday on all of the county transit system's routes.

The Manatee County Commission recently OK'd the plan for “Try Transit Day,” which called for free rides in an effort to shift commuters away from drive-alone travel.

The free day is designed to meet state goals by reducing traffic congestion, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting the use of alternatives for commuters, according to a county proclamation.

It urged people to ride the Manatee County Area Transit system as part of a special promotion that continues through the month of April, said Carl Hunsinger, transit division manager for MCAT.

The county is hoping people will commit to biking, walking, carpooling, riding the bus, “anything but driving solo,” he said.