By Will Reisman, @WillReisman

Thursday marked the ninth annual Dump the Pump Day, an event sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) that encourages commuters to get out of their gas-guzzling automobiles in favor of a trip on an alternative mode of travel.

The San Mateo County Transit District, a member of APTA, did its part to promote the day by partnering with some of its local lawmakers to highlight their various travels on public transit via social media. The District also asked its own employees to document their trips on public transit through Facebook and Twitter.  Participants were then entered into a small raffle as a ‘thank you’ for taking part in the day’s activities.

Thanks to the planning efforts of District staff, Dump the Pump turned out to be a huge success. The Twitter posts of San Mateo County Board Supervisor Dave Pine, SamTrans board member Karyl Matsumoto, Caltrain board member Ken Yeager and Transportation Authority vice chair David Canepa generated a significant amount of interest in the Bay Area and their commitment to transit was covered by local news outlets. Each of the directors was accompanied by a member of the District’s public affairs team, who helped post messages and photos of their travels throughout their various jurisdictions.

The participation from the District’s workforce was also strong, with about 56 employees—roughly 25 percent of the administration staff—eschewing their automobiles for alternative travel modes on Dump the Pump Day. Of those participants, 76 percent took public transit, with the remaining employees opting to bike, walk or carpool to work. About 20 percent of the participating workers used more than one travel mode for their commute.

Nationwide, APTA’s Dump the Pump campaign proved to be very effective, with 150 transit agencies taking part in the event. Millions of residents across the country opted to leave their car at home, according to APTA.

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