Monday, September 12, 2005

Gas Prices Driving Richmonders to Transit?

A Times-Dispatch article today discusses how high gas prices driving more riders on the the region's bus system, and who the transit agency's boss hopes to get even more.

John M. Lewis Jr., CEO of the GRTC Transit System, wants more buses on the road so commuters will have a real option. Says the article: Metropolitan Richmond wasn't built with mass transit in mind. After decades of suburban sprawl, the region lacks the kind of predictable, round-the-clock service it takes to get people to leave their cars at home.

"I come from Baltimore, which is a much larger city, with a bus every five minutes," Lewis said. "Here, if you wait 35 minutes and miss the bus and have to wait another 35 to 40 minutes, you're probably not going to see me again."

And the always-optimistic mass transit supporters chime in: 'Still, it's not too late to shift gears, transit supporters say.

Unlike Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, Richmond still has "a chance right now to design a system of the future," said Karen Rae, director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

This could include light rail lines, or commuter rail on existing track, to whisk workers downtown from the 'burbs.

"One of the problems in thinking 10 or 20 years out is the ability to bring urgency to the problem," Rae said. "I think the gas prices may bring back the urgency."'


At 12:40 PM, Blogger Steve Haner said...

The futures price of regular unleaded is now well below $2 a gallon wholesale, which means even with taxes, transportation and profit added on, the pump price is heading down quickly. The motivation for changed behavior is slipping fast. Most consumers have a very short time horizon, sadly.


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