Fargo-Moorhead to GoEco

MATBUS is challenging riders to go green over the coming month.

The public transportation service is promoting its iGoEco Challenge, a move to encourage area residents to replace solo car trips with environment-friendly transportation including walking, biking, carpooling, rollerblading or riding MATBUS.

Taaren Haak, assistant transit planner and marketing specialist for MATBUS, said this is the seventh year of the challenge.

Haak added the challenge started from a Minnesota statewide program funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which was called the Commuter Challenge. As MATBUS is a system that spans both sides of the river, Haak said, the promotion was picked up system-wide.

“Then, in 2013, we re-branded it as the iGoEco Challenge and made it our own. MnDOT has continued to help fund the challenge through the years,” Haak said via email.

The main goal of the iGoEco Challenge is to encourage people in the Fargo-Moorhead area to reconsider their transportation options. The challenge is not technically connected to Earth Day, though it does fall over Earth Week. MATBUS also has an Earth Week promotion.

“Solo car rides are one of the largest contributors to our individual carbon footprints, and reducing those trips helps the environment. Reducing solo car trips also reduces traffic and wear on our roads, reduces parking congestion in dense areas and saves money (fuel, vehicle maintenance, parking fees),” Haak said via email. “Using MATBUS is a great alternative to driving, but we’re also promoting the use of other options like walking, biking, carpooling and rollerblading. We realize that many automatically take their car when leaving home, so we’re just asking people to consider other transportation for one trip each week.”

Challenge participants can register and log on to the iGoEco Challenge website to update contest runners on what eco-friendly transportation they used that week.

The challenge runs from March 27 through April 30, though registration is now open at http://igoecochallenge.com/.

Prizes participants are able to win are valued at $100 to $400 each, including Beats Powerbeats Wireless Earphones, Amazon Echos and a Nintendo Switch. If participants complete all five weekly challenges, they will be eligible to win the grand prize of a Samsung 55″ Curved UltraHD Smart TV and UHD Blu-Ray Player, MATBUS said in a press release.

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