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Metro Encourages Commuters to Try Transit on Dump the Pump Day


Thursday June 18, 2015

Time for commuters to divorce the single person automobile With gasoline prices fluctuating wildly above and below $4 per gallon this spring, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) stresses now is the perfect time for commuters to dissolve their marriage with the single person automobile and try bus, rail, vanpool bicycling and walking to discover how much money and time can be saved compared to driving. National Dump the Pump Day, June 18, 2015, highlights an array of mobility options to help people save money on their daily commute.

Commuting to work alone in a car costs more than the price of gasoline. Drivers have to take into account insurance, maintenance, wear and tear, depreciation and parking at many destinations. For example, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimates a Los Angeles commuter spends $1,080 more each month to drive a car compared to the $100 cost of a Metro monthly transit pass. Switching to transit can pay the commuter who divorces his car $12,960 annually in “auto-mony.”

“Every day, Metro puts 2,000 buses on our streets and trains on 87 miles of light rail and subway tracks. There is a very good chance that Metro has a transportation alternative that works for you,”      said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

For commuters with a roundtrip drive of at least 30 miles, Metro also offers an extensive vanpooling program supporting a fleet of about 1,400 public vanpool vehicles destined to L. A. County work sites each day. Nearly 90 percent of Metro Vanpool commuters used to drive alone and, based on ridership statistics, vanpooling results in nearly 7,000 cars off the road each day.

 “Vanpool passengers save time and money and benefit by not having wear and tear on their personal vehicles driving to work and back,” said Metro CEO Phillip Washington. “In terms of reducing carbon footprint, we estimate that taking people out of their cars and putting them into vanpools reduces carbon emissions by nearly 4,000 metric tons in L.A. County each month.”

Metrolink fulfills regional rail needs by moving people across six counties with seven lines, 55 stations and 44,000 daily boardings on a 512 route-mile network.

"Metrolink removes approximately 18,000 cars from freeways on a daily basis,” said Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who is the chair of the Metrolink Board of Directors. “With an average roundtrip of 70 miles for Metrolink riders, that is more than one and a quarter million miles every weekday where people don’t have to drive a car, courtesy of Metrolink. I like to think of it as a ‘trial separation.’”   

APTA reports that in 2014, Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation, the highest in 58 years.

Metro bus and rail riders continue to increase in numbers. In Fiscal Year 2011, Metro had a total of 453 million boardings. In FY2014, Metro increased that to 475.5 million boardings.

APTA estimates that public transportation in the United States reduces the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually, which is the equivalent of the electricity usage of Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Denver combined. In addition, research by the Texas Transportation Institute Census Bureau shows that in 2011, U.S. public transportation use saved 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel in 498 urban areas.

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Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and it is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.