Soaring gas prices spark renewed interest in public transport

Rising fuel prices are prompting thousands of area residents to seek alternatives to driving alone. With express service to downtown St. Louis, high-frequency bus service throughout Madison County, and ridesharing and ridesharing options through RideFinders, Madison County Transit (MCT) offers commuters a number affordable and efficient transportation options that will save residents hundreds of dollars each month.

A recent AAA survey found that 59% of US commuters “said they would change their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas rose to $4 a gallon. If gas were to hit $5, which it has in the West, three-quarters said they would have to adjust their lifestyle to offset the spike at the pump.

With the state average at $4.57 a gallon earlier this month, more commuters are looking for relief and finding that public transit and ride-sharing offer an ideal solution.

Every weekday, MCT Express buses carry hundreds of Madison County residents to and from St. Louis. MCT offers a series of convenient Park & ​​Ride lots throughout Madison County, including a new location in Eastgate Plaza, with an expanded passenger waiting facility.

Currently, MCT operates the following express routes from 10 Madison County communities:

• #1X Riverbend Express: service from Godfrey, Alton, East Alton Wood River and Hartford
• #14X Highland Express: service from Highland, St. Jacob and Troy
• #16X Edwardsville Express: service from Edwardsville, Glen Carbon and Collinsville

“I always try to take the bus when I can,” said passenger Julie Dant. “But with rising gas prices, I’m looking to drive even more.”

“Gasoline prices are crazy right now,” said passenger Liam Burke. “MCT fares are predictable and the express route takes close to my house and goes down [me] right next to my work.

For RideFinders, the St. Louis-area ridesharing and ridesharing program run by MCT, rising fuel prices have also sparked renewed interest in ridesharing.

“Driving in a vanpool is a no-brainer,” said Adam Clements, a RideFinders Vanpooler from Troy. “It saves me hundreds of dollars every month, especially now that gas prices are so high. Carpooling not only reduces the wear and tear on my own car, but our carpooling keeps at least four cars on the road. »

Through RideFinders, MCT helps commuters throughout the nine-county St. Louis area find a rideshare or carpool to work or study. The free ridesharing service is available by calling (314) 621-7433 or visiting ridefinders.org. Commuters simply enter their home and work location, working hours, and commute preferences.

This information is used to generate a personalized “match list” of other people or existing carpools with similar rides to theirs to contact and discuss the carpool opportunity.

Madison County residents have even more reason to carpool with RideFinders thanks to the Madison County Vanpool Initiative. The Initiative offers discounted rates to Madison County residents. Those who live and work in Madison County pay $50 per month and those who work in St. Clair County pay $70 per month. The cost covers maintenance, fuel and use of the van.

Plus, all participants receive up to four free “guaranteed rides home” per year if they need to leave work early or stay late.
Every year, commuting to work through RideFinders saves the 10,600 registered rideshare participants $3 million in gas, maintenance and other travel costs, and these savings grow as as gasoline prices rise. Over 2,000 carpools involving more than 5,000 participants and 41 carpools with 300 participants using vans rented from RideFinders, removes over 3,000 vehicles per month and 25 million miles traveled annually from area roads. This benefits the region by reducing traffic congestion and eliminating nearly two million pounds of air pollution each year.

“There’s never been a better time to try public transit or carpooling,” said MCT chief executive SJ Morrison. “Over the past few years, we have reduced local fares, simplified our service and created ways for passengers to purchase passes on their phone. Riding an MCT has never been easier.

For more details on MCT services, visit mct.org, call 618-797-4636 (INFO) or email [email protected]

Melvin Z. Madore