With the return of high gas prices, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District announced Wednesday that it will join with other public transportation systems nationwide to participate in the sixth annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 16.

The slogan for this year is “Dump the Pump. Save Money. Ride Transit.”

“We’re hoping everyone can take advantage of Dump the Pump Day by trying transit,” MTD General Manager Sherrie Fisher said. “For example, after recent public input encouraged MTD to save Line 9 and Line 22 from elimination, MTD encourages the community to ride these and all MTD lines.”

The MTD Board of Directors will read a proclamation establishing Dump the Pump Day in Santa Barbara at its meeting next Tuesday.

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, the 2011 National Dump the Pump Day encourages people to ride public transportation and save money, instead of driving a car. Started in June 2006 when gas prices were $3 per gallon, this national day emphasizes that public transportation is a great travel option that also helps people save money and the environment.

Now that gas prices have reached more than $4 locally, saving money is on everyone’s minds and public transportation is the quickest way to beat high gas prices. According to the latest APTA Transit Savings Report, individuals in a two-person household can save an average of more than $10,000 annually by downsizing to one car.

— Kate Schwab is the assistant manager of marketing and customer service for Santa Barbara MTD.