COLLEGEVILLE -- Although the price of gas continues to rise, when the temperature goes up, the price of a commuter shuttle to King of Prussia goes down -- way down.
The Suburban Link, which runs between Collegeville, Phoenixville and King of Prussia, will be free today because the high temperatures are expected to create poor air quality.
High temperatures trap ozone and fine particulate matter near the ground. That can make breathing difficult for those with asthma or breathing problems and can restrict outdoor activity.
Today has been forecast to be that kind of day, called a Red Level Air Quality Index Day.
So in an attempt to reduce the impact of auto emissions and keep more cars on the road, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association will make its shuttle services free for the day.
Carissa Pleiss, project coordinator for the GVFTMA, said every day that is declared a Red level day, the shuttle will be free, in an attempt to boost ridership.
Of course, gas prices have already accomplished that.
She said the Suburban Link regularly serves about 450 commuters a month, but that as gas prices have risen, ridership has "not quite doubled."
The association's other shuttles, the Upper Merion and Conshohocken "Ramblers" serve more like 1,000 passengers each month, and they too have seen a significant rise in ridership, said Pleiss.
"Definitely, we've seen a jump since the gas prices started going up," she said.
It costs $2 to step onto the Suburban Link or the Rambler without having purchased tickets in advance, or you can buy a packet of 10 tickets for $10.
But on any day that the Air Quality Partnership (www.airqualitypartnership.org) forecasts as a Red Level day for air quality, the shuttle ride will be free, Pleiss said.
For information about shuttle routes and where it stops, visit www.gvftma.com or call 610-354-8899.