Officials kick off annual Commuter Challenge

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb kicked off the annual Commuter Challenge earlier this month.

The officials urged workers to use alternative ways to get to work as a way to reduce the region's traffic congestion and improve air quality.

The three-month challenge calls on workers to take the bus, light rail or carpools to work instead of driving on the roadways alone. The campaign ends

June 30.

Commuters who participate in the challenge for at least one day are eligible for several prizes, including a flat-screen television, iPod and bed-and-breakfast getaway, among other items.

Challenge sponsors include Metro Transit, 494 Commuter Services, Anoka County and the transportation management organizations for Downtown, Midway and St. Paul.

The Commuter Challenge grew from the former B-BOP (Bike, Bus or Pool) Day.

Commuters can participate by pledging online - Metro Transit's Web site is www.metrotransit.org - or by calling 373-3333 (option 4) to request a pledge form).