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Tampa, Florida -- Transit systems all over the country are offering free bus rides. It's all part of "Dump the Pump" day. You simply exchange a receipt dated May 1 or after for a free bus pass for the day.

Gas prices usually go down this time of the year but instead they are going up, a sign you should dump the pump and get on a bus. Not only will you be helping the environment but by getting on the bus you are also boosting the local economy.

National "Dump the Pump" day is a way for bus systems to encourage riders to use public transportation more often.

HART's free bus pass Thursday is an incentive to try it out.

"They don't have to deal with the traffic and it's environmentally friendly so there's an option for them and HART is that option," said HART spokesperson Sandra Morrison.

Transit systems all over the country are offering free bus rides. WTSP

Patrick Davis is one of thousands who decided to ride the bus today. Davis admitted that it helps the environment and saves him money.

"You can take that money and use it on a family vacation, you can take the wife and kids out," said Davis.

Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez normally drives to work, but opted to ride the bus today.

"Public transit in most cities, and in some ways in our city, is a great alternative to driving your vehicle," said Suarez.

Suarez explained that each bus stop must be within a quarter of a mile to a half of a mile apart making it convenient for people like Patrick Davis to save money when he decides to catch the bus.

The cost of crude oil accounts for 65% of the price of gasoline at the pump.

Gas prices are rising mainly because energy traders are worried about the potential loss of production from Iraq's southern oil fields. Only 4% of our oil comes from Iraq but the $163 million a week spent by U.S. consumers on gas is money that could instead go to back businesses to help move the economy forward.

The one day pass is your chance to help do that.

For more info on the bus systems participating in today's dump the pump day, click on the links below:

http://www.gohart.org/routes/maps-schedules.html

http://www.pascocountyfl.net/index.aspx?NID=246

http://psta.net/busschedules.php

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