Public transportation an option worth everyone’s consideration
The Vanguard Vision
November 16, 2009 —
Going green is all the rage. This country applauds all that is energy efficient and eco-friendly. And it should — research indicates that our carbon footprint would be a tight squeeze for Paul Bunyan, judging by our comparison with other nations. Thus, offsetting our contribution to global warming has become a priority for many. But there are different shades of green.
There are those who recycle when it’s convenient. There are those who are plastic and paper sorting fiends. Moving toward an even richer shade of green, there are those who purchase second-hand clothes and household commodities. And at SVSU, we have some Cardinals who are perhaps as green as they get. These Cardinals forgo the convenience of driving to work and choose to ride the bus.
Finding a way to make public transportation work in the Midwest can be a challenge — a challenge that some accept and factor into their commuting schedules. Traveling by bus requires knowledge of routes and transfers and some flexibility in one’s schedule to allot for travel time. The green Cardinals who opt for this form of transportation should be commended for their commitment to shrinking their individual carbon footprints.
We at the Vanguard realize that the bus isn’t everyone’s first choice. Some students don’t have cars, while others can’t depend on the bus schedule to get them to where they need to be on time. The system isn’t ideal, and it’s unlikely that the city has enough money to provide quick and affordable mass transportation to every desired destination in Saginaw. So, no, riding the bus doesn’t work for everyone, but it could work for more people, and it has more advantages that just the green factor.
First, riding the bus is easy on the wallet. Pocket change can get one from point A to B in most cases. When gas prices fluctuate in an unpredictable fashion, one can usually count on bus fares to remain stable.
Additionally, those who travel by bus can do all of the things one is never supposed to do behind the wheel of a car but sometimes does anyway — make phone calls, send text messages, eat, yell at one’s offspring, listen to an iPod or just completely zone out. Time lost due to taking an indirect route with stops can be time to cross off a number of to-do list items.
Going back to money matters, Michigan weather has been known to do a number on our vehicles and the roads on which we travel, which in turn can do further damage to our vehicles. The ‘service engine soon’ light can be the worst news a person can receive in tough economic times. Riding the bus more has the potential to decrease the chances of having to make car repairs for hundreds upon hundreds of dollars.
Looking at public transportation in this positive light sure portrays a side of bus riding that differs from the perception many may have of waiting out in the cold and adding valuable minutes to a daily commute. Again, though, the system isn’t perfect. A lot of this has to do with the geographical layout of our city and residential neighborhoods. But the die-hard public transportation aficionados on our campus prove that it can be done, and it isn’t an awful experience.
It may be worth finding out if at least one of your weekly commutes could be made via bus. If there is a greater demand for public transportation, conversations on how to improve the routes and schedules will hopefully garner more attention from city officials.