Take the 'Commuter Challenge'

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Looking for ways to save money on fuel costs?

Trying to decrease your dependence on gas-guzzling vehicles?

Wilmington-based Cape Fear Breeze, New Hanover County’s public transportation system, which is now reaching out to surrounding counties, wants to help.

The agency has planned its Second Annual Commuter Challenge for Sept. 15-Oct. 17 to encourage employers, employees and the general public in Brunswick New Hanover and Pender counties to take advantage of alternate methods of transportation.

According to Lawless Bean, special assistant to the city manager and program coordinator, the inaugural event in April was a great success. Members of seven teams made 3,500 alternative transportation trips.

Now, the agency wants Brunswick County employers and employees to join the fun and put together teams to meet the challenge.

Organizers’ goal for the month-long event is to increase the number of employer teams participating and to encourage use of alternative transportation beyond the challenge period, Bean said.

The motto for the Second Annual Challenge is “Looking for Your Lost Treasure? Take the Challenge.”

Participants will be encouraged in their efforts to recover their “treasures”—money spent on commuting, sanity, fitness and a clean environment.

New to this year’s Challenge are two events set for Sept. 20, including a Pirate Peloton and a WAVE Trolley Treasure Hunt and more internal employer events. The grand prizes for the team that logs the most trips is a deluxe gift package from Wilmington Hilton Riverside including two nights at the hotel, a Cape Fear River cruise on Henrietta, a horse carriage ride in the historic district and tickets to two downtown events/venues.

Other prizes will include gift certificates from Wilmington businesses including Affordable Massage, Papa John’s Pizza, Stein Mart and many others.

According to Bean, the employer organizers are already making progress toward achieving their goals of expanding participation among local employers and continuing use of alternative transportation after the challenge has ended.

In addition to putting together the Commuter Challenge, Cape Fear Breeze also matches riders interested in carpooling through Share The Ride NC. Interested participants log on to capefearbreeze.com, input their contact and location information and get connected with people in their area who are willing to carpool.

In these trying economic times, it’s good to know people and organizations are trying to come up with alternatives to the same-old, same-old.

It’s obvious the world is not the same as it was 20 years ago, and we’re not going to make any progress sitting around griping about it. We have to be willing to try new things—or maybe some old things we gave up on when we thought we were living in prosperous times. Now we know better.

For more information on these transportation programs, contact Bean at 341-4665 or lawless.bean@wilmingtonnc.gov or visit the Web site at capefearbreeze.com.