Sunday, April 20, 2008

Benefits of Public Transportation

If you’ve been near a gas station in the past few days, you know that prices are soaring upwards of $3.45 in some places. I live near Worcester and gas was $3.42 this past weekend. On my way home tonight, I noticed it went “down” to $3.39. The bad news is, gas prices are expected to go up still throughout the rest of the spring and summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if we pay more than $3.75 a gallon soon.

This surge in prices has directly affected my driving habits. I am less likely to take trips in the car now, especially since it’s at least $50 a pop to fill my tank. In fact, as Train Stopping posted on Friday, April 4th, even the T has noticed a correlation in the uptick of gas prices with increased ridership. The T reported that overall ridership increased from 27 million in February 2007 to nearly 30 million in March 2008. This increase is in line with a national trend as "More Americans rode public transportation last year than at any time in history, according to the American Public Transportation Association, which also cited gas prices as a major factor."

That’s why I am so happy to have access to public transportation. As Earth Day approaches, I’m struck by the impact mass transit has on the environment by reducing energy consumption. According to the CBS Evening News (March 10, 2008), commuters with access to bus and rail lines reduces driving by 4,400 miles per household, saving 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline and 37 million metric tons of carbon. That’s pretty impressive and I’m glad to do my part, however small. And thankfully, with more people using mass transit, this all adds up.

Yes, the MBTA has not been perfect, but with the recent schedule changes, performance has been better. The Wi-Fi installation on the Worcester-Framingham line allows me to get some work done on the train, conversely I can sleep, read or relax, but mostly let someone else do the driving and worry about the gas prices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Train Rider -

Hi. I agree with your comments. While it is too bad that it takes something like the rising cost of gas to make people consider public transportation, I do hope that the increasing cost of gas does cause more people to become public transit advocates.

Public transportation serves a great purpose. Hopefully more people embrace it. If there are more users, there will need to be more trains and hopefully better service.

This is a nice blog.

Thank you.

Public Transit Supporter