Contra Costa County public transit officials have a message for East Contra Costa commuters: Give riding the bus to work a shot.

Tri Delta Transit and 511 Contra Costa are providing free bus passes through May 11 for commuters who do not use the bus in their daily trips. Each applicant will receive four free days worth of rides.

The second annual Tri Delta Transit event is aimed at challenging people to use public transit once a week for four weeks, said Mike Furnary, the agency's director of marketing.

"We know there are a lot of people that consider using the bus -- especially with gas prices at about $4 per gallon -- but for one reason or another decide not to," Furnary said. "Hopefully, this is incentive for people to try it and ease their way into it rather than going cold turkey. There's really nothing to lose."

Those who accept the challenge will not only get four free days of bus rides but will also have a chance to win $100.

Furnary says those considering making the move from their car to the bus should consider starting at local park-and-ride lots. The lots are operated by BART and provide free parking and connections to several local and express bus routes, including Express Route 300 to BART.

That bus operates 33 trips every weekday starting as early as 4:10 a.m. A round-trip normally costs $3.30.

The bus ride to BART ends up being the same amount as travel time as trips by car, Furnary said. Also, the bus drops people at the doorstep of the Pittsburg/Bay Point station instead of drivers having to park far away and walk, he said.


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"At the end, hopefully commuters will say, 'Wow, you know what, that was actually less time to get to work,'" Furnary said.

The deadline to register is May 4.

For more information, call 925-754-6622 or visit www.trideltatransit.com/challenge.