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Seeking bus converts 

ROC Transit Day participants can get special deals at some local businesses by showing their fare cards.

PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN

ROC Transit Day participants can get special deals at some local businesses by showing their fare cards.

Fans of mass transit often talk about how hard it is to convince people to give public transportation a shot.

But for the past few years, some local mass transit advocates have tried to have a little fun with the task. The result is ROC Transit Day, which happens this year on Thursday, June 19.

For the event, the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority provides Reconnect Rochester, the group that organizes ROC Transit Day, with free bus passes. The group distributes the fare cards to participating businesses, which give them to employees who want to try riding the bus.

"We're targeting people who typically drive and have not used public transit before," says Mike Governale, president of Reconnect Rochester.

As an added incentive, the group has arranged for busker performances at some bus stops, a swing dance on the Rundel library building steps, a treasure hunt with prizes, and other activities. People can also get deals at participating businesses by showing their fare cards. A list of the businesses and information on the events is available at www.roctransitday.com.

ROC Transit Day started in 2011 when Governale and like-minded people got between 50 and 70 people to give the bus system a try. They gave participants a UFO pin; the image was chosen because every $1 spent on gas is a $1 sucked out of the local economy, Governale says.

The next year, the RGRTA got involved and began providing complementary fare cards. And 152 people participated in ROC Transit Day in 2012, Governale says.

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