Gas Prices Fuel Increased Mass Transit Use

May 08, 2008 07:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Cara McDonough
More Americans are using public transportation as gas prices climb. Yet prices still aren’t high enough for some drivers to say goodbye to their cars.

30-Second Summary

Faced with soaring gas prices, more Americans are taking public transportation, particularly in Boston, reports the Boston Globe.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said this week that the number of riders on three of the five lines on the T—Boston’s subway system—surged nearly 10 percent in the first three months of this year, an unusually high increase.

Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia and New York have all seen increases in public transportation use this year as well, although not in such dramatic numbers.

“People don’t have the disposable income that they had to dump into the gas tank,” says Boston resident Geoffrey Campbell, who recently ditched his car and started taking the T to work.

Others report, however, that some drivers aren’t letting go. High school parking lots in Warwick, R.I., are still packed, as teens don’t want to give up their cars no matter how expensive gas gets, reports the Warwick Beacon. “That yellow bus; a lot of kids call it the Loser Cruiser,” said Pilgrim High School Assistant Principal Marie Cote.

And Americans are still planning to drive or fly to summer vacations despite gas prices expected to soar past $4 per gallon. Rather than avoid summer travel, many plan to make up for higher fuel costs with other cuts in their travel expenses, such as staying at budget hotels.

But many of those who still insist on driving are buying smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, meaning trouble for Detroit’s “big three” automakers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, who have seen recent losses in their SUV and pickup truck sales.

Headline Link: Public transportation use rises in Boston, other cities

Related Topics: Some Americans still cling to their cars

U.S. automakers struggle as Americans switch to smaller cars
The priciest cities for drivers

Background: Rising oil and gas prices and how to conserve

Reference: Public transportation options and tips for saving on fuel


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