Thursday June 16, 2011
In L.A. County, those who abandon cars in favor of mass transit can save nearly $11,000 a year, according to the American Public Transportation Association. That translates to a few months of rent or mortgage, car payments, food or maybe all of the above.
"Gas prices have dropped a bit and we're all breathing a sigh of relief," said Metro CEO Art Leahy. "But a gallon of gas is still about 90 cents more a gallon than it was a year ago. We may not be able to control the price of gas but we can control how vulnerable we are to it. National Dump the Pump Day is a reminder that leaving our cars at home can help us save money at the same time we protect our air quality. It can be the beginning of a new life that isn't dependent on a car for survival."
Taking public transit helps preserve air quality, too. In the United States, public transportation saves more than 37 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. It also saves the equivalent of 900,000 automobile fill-ups every day, which translates to 4.2 billion gallons of gas annually.
L.A. County commuters today have a growing number of rideshare options to combat high gas prices. Starting Monday, June 27, the Metro Silver Line -- the express bus that links the San Gabriel Valley with downtown Los Angeles and the South Bay -- will increase in frequency to every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes midday, down from every 30 minutes, between Artesia Transit Center and downtown. Also this month, on June 27 Metro Gold Line rush-hour service will increase from every 7.5 minutes to every 6 minutes and Metro Orange Line midday service will be modified to improve connections with the Metro Red Line subway at North Hollywood. In addition, Metrolink offers service to areas beyond L.A. county.
The first leg of the Exposition light-rail line between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City is in the final phase of construction and trains are being tested. And work is beginning on Expo Phase II to Santa Monica, with service set to start in 2015. If you commute into L.A. County from far away, Metro has the fastest growing vanpool program in the country and it's perfect for long-haul commutes.
Ridership remains high on Metro Rail, which carries a large percentage of commuters who own cars, despite the drop in gas prices from this spring's spike. This suggests that in L.A. County, people who turn to transit tend to stick with it. Whether for cost, comfort or convenience, that's a strong vote in favor of leaving the car at home.
For more information on Metro schedules, go to the Trip Planner at metro.net. For more information on vanpools, go to metro.net/vanpool or call 323-GOMETRO (323.466.3876).