It’s no secret gas prices are sky-rocketing, and one of the many ways that people are dealing with it is by joining the growing masses of commuters who are ditching their cars for public transportation. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation in 2007, the highest level in 50 years, representing a 2.1% increase over the previous year.
With this growth, daily commuters can pocket the between $40 and $100 in gas money they save from not filling up the tank (minus the price of the public transportation, of course) - a reward worth taking the bus for.
That mindset is taking hold in cities across the country. In Detroit, commuters on city buses rose 7%. New Jersey Transit ridership increased 5% during the first three months of 2008, while subway use in New York City jumped 6.8% throughout January and February. The growth of public transportation use coincides with news that fewer Americans are hitting the road, according to a report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. April marked the sixth consecutive month that driving mileage declined. Americans drove 1.8% fewer miles compared to last year, a rate that is continuing to decline.Although the idea of taking a train or bus may hit a germaphobic nerve with some, it’s actually a relaxing mode of transportation if you know the basic rules.
MAINSTREET’S TIPS ON HOW TO COMMUTE WELL WITH OTHERS:
1. ALWAYS HAVE AN IPOD/CD PLAYER/NEWSPAPER/BOOK HANDY
Nothing passes time better than listening to your favorite band or reading the day’s news. But remember that expensive electronic devices may attract unwanted attention, so don’t flaunt that $300 iPod Touch.
2. BE COURTEOUS
Passengers don’t often take others into consideration, but if you do your ride will be a lot smoother. Don’t take up multiple seats or block the aisle. And, try to limit cell phone calls. Other riders are not interested in what you’re doing over the weekend.
3. KEEP TO YOURSELF
A nosey person will always ruin a good time, even if it’s a bus ride. Avoid reading over the shoulder of another passenger, staring at people or getting into altercations of any kind.
4. KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
No one likes to be held up by a misinformed or clueless person, so map out your destination beforehand. Holding up the bus to ask the driver for help will only earn you dirty looks from other riders.
5. SIT CLOSE TO AN EXIT, IN CASE IT GETS PACKED
During rush hour, buses tend to fill up pretty quickly and the middle is the last place you want to be sitting or standing. Just make sure you’re near the front or rear exits because pushing through a wall of people is the last thing you want to do on a sweltering summer day.
And, last, but not least…
6. IGNORE THE CRAZY PEOPLE
Most of the time, you can put up with the guy talking to himself, but for those rare occasions when you can’t handle the insanity, just move.