Only 2 percent of workers in the Triangle took public transit to work last year, which is below the national average of 5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data.
The percentage of people that worked at home in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham increased in the past five years. In Chapel Hill, 12 percent of workers used public transportation to commute to work — but in Raleigh and Durham it was less than 5 percent.
Nikhil Kaza, a UNC city and regional planning professor, said commuting is not the only thing that matters when measuring transit use.
"A vast majority of travel in the U.S. is non-work travel," he said. "Only 16 percent of the trips and 20 percent of the miles are for commuting.”
Kaza said the issues with public transit are that it is often inconvenient, destinations are not clustered enough and other options are more appealing.
“Alternatives are cheap, abundant and convenient," he said. "Gas prices are low.”
Mike Charbonneau, spokesperson for GoTriangle, said the purpose of Try Transit Week is to introduce more members of the community to transportation options besides a car that are available to get to school, work or other places.
“We want the community to know that their dollars are going to work right now in improving the buses that exist today, and putting more of them on the streets, connecting to more places,” he said.
Charbonneau said there are big transit projects aside from the bus network that currently exists.
"In Durham and Orange County, we're building a 17.7 mile light rail," he said. "Transit services will continue to get better each year over the next 10 years with the culmination of those rail projects coming online to connect with our bus systems 10 years from now."
He said all three counties are growing rapidly and he wants GoTransit to match the growing population.
"We thought this was a great time to give that free sample — to give one more incentive to have people try it out for the first time," he said.