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Media Contact:
Morgan Lyons

May 19, 1999

28 Ozone Action Days in 1998

DART, area agencies promoting action during ozone season

DART is joining forces with the North Texas Clean Air Coalition, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) to promote public transit use and raise awareness of the need for residents to take steps every day to improve the region's air quality.

The Dallas/Fort Worth area (Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties) is classified by the federal government as a "serious" non-attainment area for ozone. Ozone season is from May 1 to October 31. The area may be reclassified "severe" if an improved ozone standard is not attained soon. Consequently, the federal government may impose restrictions on North Texas industrial, development and highway projects as happened in other cities.

Ozone is a gas that is produced when emissions from cars are exposed to high summer heat. Approximately 40 percent of the area's ozone is created by cars, the balance produced by other factors. Using alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles -- such as buses, trains or car and vanpooling can reduce automobile emissions, the precursor of ground-level ozone. In the DART Service Area, use of public transit reduces the amount of ozone produced by 365,000 pounds annually.

Ozone alerts are issued as needed by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. There were 28 ozone days in 1998.

DART is working with The T, the North Texas Clean Air Coalition and the North Central Texas Council of Governments to broadcast a regional 'Ozone Awareness' radio campaign during ozone season on local radio stations. Texas Utilities is providing additional funding for the project. The commercials will run from June through September.

The spots will outline the region's ozone problem, and encourage the use of DART's buses, light rail, commuter rail and trolley-buses as well as T buses every day in addition to Ozone Action Days. In the commercials, listeners also will be encouraged to form or join car and vanpools so they can commute the DART High Occupancy Vehicle lanes if they can't use fixed-route service. Radio stations participating in the campaign also are providing additional free commercials on Ozone Action Days that are tied into their weather reports.

Local DART fares on Ozone Action Days are $1 and $2 for premium or express service. In a departure from previous years, DART will not be offering reduced fares on ozone action days. DART and The T, will be working with their agency partners to promote daily use of public transit in an effort to reduce ozone production.

Information about DART bus and rail services is available by calling 214-979-1111 or at DART's website, www.DART.org. Carpool and vanpool information is available from DART by calling 214-747-RIDE. Another option for employers may be the use of the DART E-pass. E-pass is an annual DART pass provided by the company to every employee at a very low cost. It provides unlimited transportation on all DART fixed-route bus and rail services. Additional information about E-pass is available by calling 214-747-7433.

Bus route and schedule information is available from The T by calling 817-215-8600. Carpool and vanpool information is available from The T by calling 817-336-RIDE.

Daily air quality information and ozone action day announcements can be found at the following website http://dfwinfo.com or by calling 800-960-4AIR.

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