BILOXI (WLOX) -- Many coast drivers got a break Thursday from sky high gas prices, thanks to the Coast Transit Authority. All rides on CTA's fixed route buses were free of charge during the 2nd Annual Dump the Pump Day.
Jerrlyn Gill of Biloxi admits she doesn't usually take the bus. But a free ride is just too good of a deal for her to pass up.
"I'm with my friends and we wanted to try this out," says Gill. "We thought it would be great."
Gill was among many taking advantage of the free rides.
"We're just doing this for a little adventure. You never know, the way it looks we might all be riding the bus."
Jason Hanson was also trying out the bus for the first time.
"Gas prices are outrageous," says Hanson. "I got to see a lot of things today, and it's still early. I was going to call it a day, but I think I'm going to continue to take advantage of this for a couple more hours at least."
For Bob Richardson, the bus is a lifeline.
"I walk an hour and 15 minutes to get to the bus stop," says Richardson. "Public transit is a necessity."
CTA Executive Director Kevin Coggin says he's not surprised so many people are turning to public transit.
"Our ridership is up over 50 percent from this time last year on fixed routes, to give you an idea of how bad the situation is," says Coggin. "People are really hurting."
Jimmy Khan is a native of India, and on the coast working in construction. He has a theory on why more Americans don't use public transportation more often.
"Because they're spoiled," says Khan. "They want to ride these big cars and be like kings."
But that's a luxury many people are finding they can no longer afford.
"Everybody ought to park their cars and jump on," says Judy Kleiser of Gulfport. "Hey, it's cheaper than the gas."
To see maps and schedules of all the CTA routes, plus learn about special programs for seniors and businesses, just visit www.CoastTransit.com.