Mass transit saves lives

By By Adam Kirk

By Adam Kirk

As I rode home from school on the bus, I felt as though I was doing my part to make the world a better place. I like that feeling even more than I hate having to get up a little earlier to catch the bus to school.

After buying a more gas-efficient car, I tracked how much gas I had bought so that I could see how much money I was saving. I was surprised to find out that I wasn’t saving as much as I had thought. Now, after getting off the bus, I like to get in my car and stare at the gas gauge that is right where I left it. Problem solved.

“It only takes an extra 15 minutes — definitely worth saving money,” a fellow rider said to me.

The benefits are shared. A single person commuting via transit, instead of driving alone, can save 200 gallons of gasoline a year. Also, a bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel-efficient than as many automobiles. If you decrease the demand for gas, you decrease the price at which it is sold. If a lot of people were to start riding the bus where it is available, those weekend trips to Bear Lake would then be more affordable — you wouldn’t buy as much gas throughout the week and gas prices would be cheaper.

Riding the bus is also safer than driving a car. As the billboard near Salt Lake City reads, “Newton says you lose.” I’ll be happy to throw together an equation explaining why a collision in a bus with a Civic would feel like a mere tap on the brakes. The fact is that riding a bus is 47 times safer than riding in a car, according to the National Safety Council.

In the business world, time is money. In the student world, time is homework. You might worry that after homework, riding the bus will leave you with less time to do what you want. There is nothing better to do on the bus than homework. With more homework getting done during commute time, there’s more time for living your life.

Furthermore, earlier in the decade, the U.S. Department of Transportation expected vehicle delays to exceed 3.9 billion hours annually by the year 2005. Note that it is now 2007, and traffic jams are horrific.

Of course, the most important reason you will want to park your car and ride the bus is to conserve limited natural resources and to keep the sunset worth watching by decreasing atmospheric pollution. Air pollution causes acid rain, weather changes and health problems for those who have to breathe it.

Riding the bus really isn’t as hard as one might imagine. You get on, you sit down, you get off. Being a student at the U means you get a free Utah Transit Authority bus pass. You can easily look up the route you need on the Internet or by calling an information number.

Go ahead and feel as though you’re saving the world. Ride the bus.

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