Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why not choose the light rail?


I'm a 26 year old college student who doesn't own a car. So how do I get around? Public transportation. And I'm not the only one! According to a report released recently by the APTA, Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation last year, which is the second highest annual ridership since 1957--only rising gas prices in 2008 yielded more rides (Hargreaves, 2012). The recent numbers have also been attributed to an increase in gas prices, as well as the economy slowly recovering, sending more people back to work. "The uptick in ridership occurred in large, medium and small communities, showing the broad support that public transportation has nationwide.  In fact, the largest rate of growth was in rural communities with populations under 100,000 where public transit use increased by 5.4 percent” (Miller, 2012).

In addition, even we are only in the first quarter of 2012, ridership has also already seen increases from 2% all the way up to 35% in many markets across the country (Miller, 2012). And the fact that the national average of gas prices is currently hovering around $3.80 a gallon could be the tipping point that sends even people running to catch the bus, light rail or subway in their area, leaving their cars at home (Marcacci, 2012).

What I like about riding my local light rail is how convenient it is. It takes me about 1.5hrs to get to work from my house (adding additional travel time to my day), but I am able to use that time to work on things on my way (i.e. homework), or even catch up on a little sleep. Plus, it keeps me from being stuck in traffic and adding to the congestion on the road. Also, there is "a plethora of mobile-phone applications that can display train or bus schedules for your current location. And count-down clocks at train platforms or bus stops take some of the frustration out of waiting for your ride" (Hargreaves, 2012). This makes riding the train even more convenient.

With gas prices on the rise, and all we’ve come to learn about the hidden costs of oil and dangers of petroleum, why not make a healthy choice for both the world and your pocketbook, and choose the bus instead?


Works Cited
Hargreaves, S. (2012). Mass transit use rises as gas prices soar. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/12/news/economy/mass-transit.

Marcacci. (2012). US public transportation trips topped 10.4 billion in 2011. Retrieved from http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/15/us-public-transportation-trips-topped-10-4-billion-in-2011.

Miller, V. (2012). 10.4 billion trips taken on U.S. public transportation in 2011. Retrieved from http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/pressreleases/2012/Pages/120312_2011Ridership.aspx.

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