Gas Prices Continue To Push Motorists Onto Transit

In the sprawling Atlanta region, some and bus lines are experiencing overcrowding due to the soaring number of transit commuters.

"Traffic was what drove James Fondon eight years ago to let Cobb County Transit do the driving on his daily commute from Marietta to his job downtown with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Today, record gas prices are what's keeping him on the bus and has growing a number of other metro Atlantans hitching a ride with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, leaving some buses with standing room only.

Every day, Fondon, 52, looks out from the window of his bus at the motorists clogging the highway.

"I feel for them," Fondon said.

Andrewn Jackson, who began using Xpress this week at a fare of $5 a day, figures the $75 a week she would otherwise spend on gas looks better in her pocket than in a service station's register.

The average price for regular gas locally hit $3.409 per gallon on Thursday and reached $3.79 in at least one metro location, according to AtlantaGasPrices.com, which relies on reports from motorists. The national average, the Web site said, was $3.437.

"It's too much, and I drive a truck," said Jackson, 34, a technical assistant who cited traffic and helping the environment as additional reasons. "In this case, I'm saving a lot. That pretty much says it all."

The cost of a monthly, suburb-to-downtown, regular adult bus pass is $80 for Xpress, $90 for Cobb Express and $100 for Gwinnett Express, according to the systems' Web sites.

The transit authority welcomes the uptick in popularity of its GRTA Xpress bus service and its express routes operated under contract by the Cobb Community and Gwinnett County transit agencies. It doesn't welcome the consequence - overcrowding."

Full Story: http://www.ajc.com/hp/content/metro/stories/2008/04/17/commute_0418.html

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