TRAVERSE CITY — Voters who don’t have transportation to their polling place Tuesday can take the bus and get there for free.
The Bay Area Transit Authority (BATA) is offering free rides for the whole day on its Loop fixed routes in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. Bus rides normally cost $3 each way.
Times for loop routes vary, but most operate from about 6 a.m to 10 p.m., which is plenty of time to get to the polls, said Eric Lingaur, communications and development director for BATA.
“We encourage folks to get out and vote next week,” Lingaur said. “If we can reduce one excuse or barrier for not going out to vote, hopefully this is one they can take off the list.”
This is the first time that BATA has offered free bus rides on Election Day, though it’s something the authority has been thinking about for a while, Lingaur said.
They’ve also seen other bus authorities offer the service, as well as the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing companies, Lingaur said.
“We were like, lets give it a try and see how it goes,” he said.
Riders can get on a Loop route at any bus stop and most routes will take them directly to their polling location or within a block of it, Lingaur said.
People can also call BATA and schedule a ride on a Link bus, which will pick them up at their home and take them directly to the poll, but that service is not being offered for free. Rides are the standard $3 each way, though seniors, students, people with disabilities and veterans get 50 percent off.