I’ll admit it, I didn’t want to at first. I had lived on campus or directly across the street from it for the majority of my college career and I didn’t believe in taking the bus. The bus was for sissies who couldn’t walk or ride their bikes to class or for people who didn’t have cars.
I do have a car and clearly I am no sissy, so I just didn’t get what the hubbub over the bus was all about.
And then I moved 2.5 miles away from campus and let me tell you – that is a long 2.5 miles when it’s snowing outside and an even longer 2.5 miles when you know you have to try and find parking on campus.
Thus, I became a big fan of the bus. And now, I can’t imagine my life without it. Transfort is my personal chauffeur, taking me to class and the gym every day, sometimes twice. And judging by how full the bus usually is, I know I’m not alone.
And why should I be? There are many good reasons for utilizing the bus system. First of all, taking the bus can actually save you money. True, Transfort is funded partially through ASCSU and your student fees, but your monthly gas expenditure will decrease dramatically if eliminate your daily car commute. For me, this meant taking the bus instead of driving 25 miles each week to and from school. With gas prices in the $2.45 range and my car’s 14-gallon tank, I’m saving almost $35 every week that I would normally have to spend on fuel. So if my student fee package pays for Transfort, I might as well use it.
Taking the bus is also ecological. According to the Global Footprint Project the average American utilizes the resources of 24 acres per person. Or, to put it another way, if the whole world lived like the average American we would need more than 10 planets to sustain life as we know it. And Americans use 43 percent of our energy resources just for transportation needs alone. Taking public transportation reduces CO2 emissions, is twice as fuel efficient as cars and helps reduce our individual global footprints.
Public transportation has also been proven safer than driving a car. The National Safety Council estimates that public transportation is 170 times safer than driving a private car. In 2005, Transfort/Dial-A-Ride only had 1.12 preventable collisions for every 100,000 miles and only 0.07 injuries per 100,000 boardings.
I’ll agree with my fellow columnist that Transfort has a few kinks to be worked out. More routes and shorter wait times might encourage more people to use public transportation. But I believe the benefits outweigh the costs. It has been relatively easy for me to adapt my schedule around Transfort’s and in doing so, I am getting a cheap, Earth-friendly, safe chauffeur every day, sometimes twice.
Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears in the Collegian on Fridays. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.