Morning commutes can usually be a big headache, but today in Pierce County, it was a cause for celebration.

Riders on a few of Pierce Transit's bus routes were surprised with prizes, valued up to $500, as a thank you for their participation in the county's transit system.

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Everyone on the bus received a prize, but a few got the grand prize golden tickets, which are worth up to $500.

"All of the agencies in the Central Puget Sound area have gotten together along with our sponsor, Challenge Seattle, and we are boarding buses and handing out gifts to our customers who ride transit every day," said Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier.

Needless to say, there was a lot of excitement on the bus as riders started opening the envelopes that contained their special prizes.

"It's my first day at work so I thought this would be the most exciting part," said Kayla Gusterson, who snagged a $500 gift card to Costco. "But I guess this is pretty exciting too."

It's all part of a campaign called #RideTransit, which celebrates the people that keep transit moving, and aims to inspire others to choose transit as well.

"As more people move into the area, we cannot keep building roads," Dreier said of the area's high ridership growth. And she says for that reason, there are a lot of benefits to using local transit options.

"It takes cars off the road, and it's good for the environment."

Transit partners will continue surprising riders on select trains, ferries, water taxis and buses through the month of June.

Story sponsored by Pierce Transit.

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