Ventura County air quality officials are urging commuters to double up on their way to work in observance of Rideshare Week, a five-day effort beginning Monday aimed at promoting car pooling and clearing the air.
“Motor vehicles are the single largest source of emissions that create the smog and ozone problem in Ventura County,” said William Mount, deputy director of the county Air Pollution Control District.
“Although vehicles are much cleaner, people are driving more and some of the gains we’ve made are being canceled out,” he said.
Alternatives to driving alone to work also include walking, bicycling and public transportation--anything to lessen the amount of smog emitted into the air on a daily basis, Mount said.
“This isn’t something someone has to do every day,” he said. “If someone can ride-share two or three times a week, it will reduce smog and lessen congestion.”
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution declaring Oct. 4-8 Rideshare Week. A more concentrated effort to increase the number of passengers in each vehicle will take place Oct. 7--dubbed Rideshare Day.
“Over the past three years, Ventura County has been ranked as one of the most severe (air pollution) areas in the country,” said Alan Bandoli, the county transportation coordinator. “It affects all sorts of living things, not only people.”
In 1991, the state mandated that large companies provide incentives to their employees to get them to car-pool.
Rule 210 requires that large employers reach an average ridership of 1.5 people per car, or three people in every two cars, by 1996. Currently, large employers must reach 1.35 people per car, under the law.
“We aim at the commuter because the adult working population is the biggest body of people who drive,” Bandoli said.
According to the latest survey, Ventura County employees average 1.38 people per vehicle, Bandoli said.
“It’s the first year we’ve exceeded that (mandate), so we’re pretty pleased,” he said. “But in two years we would have to show progress.”