Twin Cities Commuters Boosting Bus Ridership

More suburban commuters around the Twin Cities are ditching their cars and riding the bus.

"The high cost of gas and parking are helping wrench a vast army of suburbanites from behind their steering wheels -- so much so that riders complain they often have to stand, and transit officials are warning that they are bumping up against capacity."

"New statistics for 2007 show that ridership on Metro Transit's express services and the major suburban providers has soared by nearly 2 million over the past two years."

"Transit officials say they could be pulling far more drivers off the road, reducing traffic congestion and limiting the emissions blamed for climate change, if they had the money for more buses and park-and-ride spaces."

"'We can't keep growing at these rates,' said Beverly Miller, executive director of Minnesota Valley transit, which covers parts of Dakota and Scott counties. 'We have no capacity to do that. People aren't going to keep coming to us if there's no place to park, and no place to sit on the bus.'"

Full Story: Among suburban commuters ... Catching the bus is catching on



Peak Oil and Transit Ridership

Given the finitude of fossil fuels and the opportunity costs associated with transportation fuels vs. fuels for heating, hot water, electricity, etc., the people of Minnesota are quite wise to be moving towards more mass transit use.

If mass transit ridership is up, why can't the authorities allocate additional resources to accomodate this good trend?

In addition to increasing mass transit ridership, in the long run we must also figure a way to allocate resources to rebuilding all our neighborhoods to be walkable. That is, we need to rebuild our "suburban communities" to make essential goods and services available within walking distance for all. Progress on these two fronts would go a long way towards a sustainable future.


Metro FActs 2006:
Average bus load 11.1
Average Light Rail load 30.0
Looks more like a resource management problem and not a capacity problem.

If mass transit ridership is up, why can't the authorities allocate additional resources to accomodate this good trend?
Ans: money. Fare revenues cover barely a quarter of costs. The State and local revenues that make up the difference have experienced a recent drop due to the housing bubble and general economic fallouts.

Revenues for Mass Transit

Why not raise gas taxes; local,regional, State, and Federal and dedicate those funds (plus an increased percentage of current gas tax revenues) to funding increased capacity for mass transit and rebuilding neighborhoods?

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