Rising gas prices are driving more people to public transport

(NewsNation) – Soaring average gas prices in the United States are likely pushing Americans toward public transit and alternative transportation.

One of the best ways to see the immediate result of high gas prices is to take public transportation.

As daily life resumes after two years of stagnation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and states have now rescinded universal indoor mask mandates, companies are trying to persuade workers to return to the office.

It means an end to empty lanes on the nation’s highways as commuters are torn from their home-working environment, not to mention their ultra-casual work attire.

Higher prices at the pump can mean that money-conscious consumers will drive less. Motorists face a double as rising petrol prices come with an increasingly congested journey.

Some believe skyrocketing gas prices could lead to a change in the country’s travel habits.

“Gasoline prices are skyrocketing – but bus, subway and train fares are not,” said traffic consultant Samuel Schwartz, who calls himself “Gridlock Sam”. tweeted Thusday.

Schwartz said WCBS News Radio that “traffic typically drops 2% for every 10% increase in gas prices. When gasoline prices rose 30% nationally in 2008, traffic fell by about 3% nationwide. »

Gas is already over $5 a gallon in at least one state — and $6 a gallon is on the radar.

“There will be people who say, ‘It’s too complicated, I can’t afford it, and not drive'” Schwartz said.

Some state governors are calling for a federal gas tax break amid the national gas hike, but any relief is unlikely to happen soon.

In South Florida, Tri-Rail trains between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami have been the busiest for two years.

Law student Cheyenne Pearson says driving the hour to class is no longer an option.

“I would love to drive,” she said. “But if I have to choose between filling up my gas tank for almost $90, it could go to other expenses I have. Especially as a student being in school, you never know what happens.

Steven Abrams, executive director of Tri-Rail, said it was starting to feel like pre-pandemic there.

“Just when you’ve seen gas prices go over $4 — and sometimes it takes an artificial number like $4 — we’ve seen a rapid increase in ridership,” he said. “Most Tri-Rail tickets currently cost less than a gallon of gas.”

“Passengers pretty quickly understand the value … of using public transit to get where they want to go instead of paying absorbing prices at the pump,” he said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced in early March that the New York City Subway set a new record for a day’s traffic since the passage of the omicron wave.

And in Connecticut, rail service is now about three-quarters of what it was before the pandemic.

“I’ll wait if the train is late or if it’s raining. I would rather sit on the train and not have to fill my gas tank,” Pearson said.

Many trains and buses also use gasoline. But transit prices have not been affected at this stage, as most transit services have entered into contracts that will mitigate price increases for the time being.

This is good news for cyclists hoping to escape the pain at the pump.

The national mask mandate on public transit is set to be relaxed next month, according to reports. As this may deter some from using the service, it is likely that traffic will increase even more once the mandates have expired.

And as spring weather approaches in many parts of the country, those who choose and can lace up their walking shoes cannot be overlooked because they simply leave their car keys at home.

Melvin Z. Madore