Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cut transportation expenses by 50%!

I keep hearing that the cost of gas is going up. Is that true?

For the last few weeks, I've been riding the bus for my local transportation needs.

If gas is so expensive, why do I see a half-dozen or so cars idling in the driveway every morning, so they'll be nice and warm for that 10-minute commute? Or the guy who pulled over because he had an icy windshield... but instead of getting out and scraping it, he sat there for 2 or 3 minutes, revving his motor to warm it up to "defrost temperature"?

My bus-riding has given me the opportunity to do an informal, unscientific traffic survey, as I've stood at the place where I catch the bus.

Over the course of 6 or 7 mornings, I've counted 292 "passenger vehicles." (I've deliberately excluded service trucks, delivery vehicles, etc., that normally wouldn't be expected to carry passengers.)

Of those 292 vehicles, 266 had only the driver on board. Over 90% were single-occupant vehicles.

If those folks would take on one passenger, the actual cost of transportation would immediately drop by 50%.

Tell me if I'm wrong.

Of course, allocating expenses fairly would be an issue. Gas is only a small part of the total expense of operating a vehicle, which is typically around 50 cents per mile, depending on who you ask.

An obvious side-benefit of doubling up would be a drastic reduction in road congestion and vehicle emissions. Win-win-win!

On a related note... I paid $32 for a 31-day bus pass. As of this writing, I've ridden 29 times, so I'm almost to the break-even point, as compared with the standard fare of $1 per trip. At 50 cents / mile, that same transportation, in SOV, would've cost me right around 50 bucks, figuring 3.5 miles per trip.

Of course, the bicycle is WAY cheaper than either SOV or bus! I'm so anxious to get back to pedalin'.


db said...

We've talked about buses in here before, and my issue with them is that many routes run only once an hour. If they ran more often, I would certainly use them. As it stands, I can use them for part of my trip and plan to do so if I'm having bike or physical issues.

On a tangent, Boiseans are discovering that bicycling saves gas for enjoying the outdoors:

Click here.

Bikeboy said...

db, you are right - the local bus system leaves a lot to be desired, particularly the once-per-hour schedule (during "peak" times it's every half-hour, but that's still inadequate as a "serious" alternative for most people). And the routes are very limited, as well, and not very imaginative.

I saw Zimo's column... good stuff there.

bob t said...

In Seattle I used to pay $30/year for a bus pass through my employer under the commute trip reduction law. Although I'm still working for the same employer there doesn't seem to be an equivalent program here. Biking to work is more convenient for me anyway.