Omaha area residents are truly taking “Little Steps” to have a “Big Impact” on air quality. During the second set of designated Ozone Awareness Days, Metro transit bus ridership increased 12.5 percent over the previous week.

Ozone Awareness Days are a part of the “Little Steps. Big Impact” campaign. Funded through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA), the campaign aims to raise awareness about the community, economic and public health impacts that can occur because of high levels of ground-level ozone.

Greg Youell, executive director of MAPA, said that this metro-wide approach is necessary for curbing high ground-level ozone.

“Ozone doesn’t follow jurisdictional boundaries,” Youell said.

Approximately 7,400 additional riders took advantage of reduced 50-cent bus fares during the second part of the campaign. During the four days of reduced fares, bus ridership totaled just under 67,000 riders. The same period in the previous week saw only around 59,000 riders.

A single bus trip can seem like a little step on the way to improving air quality. But when the increased ridership numbers are added with the figures from the June campaign, just over 18,000 additional bus trips have been taken. These additional rides can have a big impact on keeping the air safe and clean for everyone.

A third and final round of Ozone Awareness Days will be held August 12-15. Fares will be reduced once again to 50 cents with 25-cent transfers.

To learn more about the campaign and see ways to reduce ozone levels, visit www.littlestepsbigimpact.com. Individuals can also visit the Metro website to see bus schedules and routes and to map their ride to their favorite destinations.