Sunday, December 3, 2006

Riders cite environmental reasons for taking the bus

Minneapolis / St Paul, MN - The environmentalist argument strikes transit again. In a December 3rd news article from Minneapolis, I was amused to find the following quote:

"Riders increasingly cite environmental reasons for taking the bus, and Metro
Transit wants those riders to know that the agency is leading the state on green
initiatives, said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb."

What I find amusing is that the "reasons" being cited come about by using push polling. Questions are asked of individuals but are worded to get the result the pollster is looking to obtain. Jane and Joe Sixpack do not cite the environment as one of the reasons they take the bus unless that's the only answer available for them to respond with.

The real reasons people choose the bus are cost, convenience as well as having no other choice. I have seen some of these polls that are trotted out by various transit systems which cite environmentalism and in each and every one of them, the questions are "loaded" to get the answer they want. In addition, many of these polls are done with the backing of environmental groups which brings into question the accuracy of the poll.

The environmental argument regarding public transit dates back to the 1970's. Yes, people rode transit more back then but it wasn't because of environmentalism. It was because gas was scarce. Listening to the environmental groups however, one comes away thinking that just about everyone rode back then because they cared about the environment when it simply wasn't the case.

The simple fact of the matter here is that every transit system in North America could switch over to fuel cell or electric buses and the impact on the air quality would be negligible.

The big problem is that the costs of implementing the majority of the environmentalist agenda is costly. Too costly for public transit to handle while keeping service available and fares low enough for people to want to ride.

While I have no desire to have polluted air, water, etc., pushing much more expensive and unneeded technology on to public transit agencies is not the answer to clean things up. Part of the answer is to get people out of their cars but that won't happen as long as the environmental movement continues to force expensive mandates onto the transit industry. Public transit is at a financial choke point. They can't continue much longer to provide service at a reasonable fare with more and more eco-nonsense being placed on them.

The environmentalist movement earns itself a nice Lance for their part in pricing public transit out of existence.

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