Bus ridership increase correlated with increasing gas prices?

My name is Laura Prosser. I’m a journalism student working on an article trying to correlate the rise in bus ridership and the increase in gas prices. However, there are obviously other factors to the rise in ridership.

I’m looking for people who have something to say on this topic. I would like to find people who have a car but choose to ride the bus and what their reasons are for doing so. If you are interested in being a source and setting up an interview or have any information in relation to this topic please contact me.

My email address is pross016 @ d.umn.edu. You can also just leave comments here as well. Thank you for your time and consideration.

14 Comments

rnarum

about 10 years ago

I have a fleet of vehicles. Really. Yet I choose to ride the bus for a number of reasons, mostly because it's super convenient. 

I work downtown, and I choose to live in the city, near a bus line, so I don't have to deal with the hassles of driving, parking... 

I also enjoy riding to work with two dozen or so folks rather than just drive alone in my private vehicle.

Although fuel prices might impact some, it really is not a factor for me, since I only live 1.5 miles from my work place. I ride the bus when I can -- it's the right thing to do ... and in my case... is a much better personal solution than driving.

dbb

about 10 years ago

I can confirm that rnarum does indeed have a fleet of vehicles. Some of them even run.

No Good Bum

about 10 years ago

I have a family of 5. We had two cars until last fall I decided to ditch one of the cars to save some money on insurance AND gas. Now I'm saving at least $125/month and getting healthier by walking more, although I do take the bus more than half the time. Actually, I took the bus about 75% of the time this winter, but will begin walking more come spring...at least that's the plan. I don't foresee purchasing another vehicle in the near future because this situation seems to be working just fine plus does any believe gas prices will ever go down again?

Claire

about 10 years ago

I use the bus about the same as always, but I find that it's problematic to take it anywhere besides downtown and back, so I end up having to drive if I have elsewhere to go. But the fact that we wanted to be on a busline did influence us greatly when we bought our house in 1994. We had one car then. Now we have two, but only b/c Mr Claire works in Superior and I am the family chauffeur here in Duluth.

I've been taking the Jefferson Lines bus down to the Cities when I have to go there. Sometimes I take Skyline Shuttle, but it costs a lot more than the bus and has no wi fi onboard.  Jefferson is cheaper than driving and I can read or write on my laptop.

Codie

about 10 years ago

rnarum, No Good Bum, and Claire...

I am working on a similar project in Duluth. I'm making a video showcasing people who use alternative transportation (bus, walking, biking) instead of driving. I could meet you anywhere that's most convenient for you, if you wanted to appear in this film... it would only take about 15 minutes.

No Good Bum, your story is particularly interesting, because I'm trying to find people with families who don't drive regularly.

Please email me at [email protected] if your interested! Thanks!!!

TopOfTheHillMan

about 10 years ago

I took the bus for a year due to medical reasons and did not like it at all.  I think they are dirty, and it exposed me to a side of life that I would, quite frankly, rather not be associated with. Waiting for the bus in the evening at the downtown center the police were there more often than not, and I heard more cussing and street talk on the bus than I cared knowing/hearing. If your not going downtown or to the mall they are not easy. I appreciated having them, but I ran to buy a car the minute the law would allow.

MJ

about 10 years ago

We are also a one car family and purposefully bought a house on the busline.  We mainly bus to work/childcare and back.  I like the bus because I can take it in the mornings, and then decide to walk home in the evenings if the day is nice.  Don't have that kind of freedom with a car!

I can't fathom putting all that money into a second vehicle, as so many families choose to do.  But that's more about car payments and insurance than it is about gas prices.  Rising gas prices still haven't changed our driving habits much.

peaceNic

about 10 years ago

My husband drives the car to work in Superior and I work close enough to home that I walk when it's nice and take the bus otherwise. I also take it to run errands. It seems to take more time when you need to wait for the bus, but I prefer it to driving. It's more relaxing and I've enjoyed numerous conversations with strangers either waiting for the bus or sitting on the bus. I wouldn't say it has anything to do with gas prices, but my husband would prefer to ride his bike to work if one could ride across the Blatnik Bridge.

tom

about 10 years ago

My wife and I insure 2 cars needlessly.  The bus probably takes me 15 or so minutes longer than driving would, but once I get my life to a place where I can go a week or so without getting into a car - I really come to hate driving around town unless absolutely necessary.  I don't mind a transition between work and home.  I like to read or think.  Driving deprives me of that transition time.

pross016

about 10 years ago

Rnarum, No good Bum and Tom,

I was wondering if any of you would care to meet with me either tomorrow (Anytime) or Friday morning for an interview and to tell your story about why you ride the bus. Or if sometime next week works better too.

Please let me know. I'd love to get a narrative and human aspect on this trend of bus riding.

Sincerely,
Laura Prosser

pross016

about 10 years ago

Thank you for all your wonderful comments. If it isn't the gas prices its something else. What do you think should be the reasons for people to ride the bus?

ruby2sd4y

about 10 years ago

I ride the bus, more often than not. I also walk (downtown - a 45 min walk from home to work) when it's nice enough (feb/mar - nov) out - usually to work and ride the bus home (or part-way home), and I also own a car, motorcycle, and bicycle. I prefer not to have to park downtown (the cheapest meters being below Michigan Street, or no meter parking up on 3rd or 4th Sts., as well as the Essentia ramps for $2 all day - and a bit of a walk.) Not that walking a few-to-several blocks in DT Dull-uth is ever a bad thing, or bad for you. You know, that 10 min, three times a day - well make 20 of them a walk to or from a bus stop. DOH!

I've ridden the bus for about the past 3-4 yrs out of 19yrs living here. Several years from 95-02 I had free parking/rideshare from various employers/with friends so driving/parking DT wasn't an issue. Before that, I didn't work downtown or ride the bus, for any reason. For some of these years, I've attended LSC and my student ID is/was my bus pass = a free ride, no matter the day or time of day/day of the week. I believe UMD and maybe UWS have this as a student benefit as well - hey! it only costs tuition! hahaha. St Scholastica? I'm not sure.

One of my children was also an avid summer rider - taking advantage of the Teen Pass as well as the Bike and Bus feature. He loved it. I've tried this too and it really is a cool feature to avoid the hills.

I've paid with change, by refillable pass, and by using my student ID as well as collected Park and Ride passes from the various downtown businesses - and namely my bank. I also have gifted these passes to friends/riders in need. Handy dandy. Most stops for me and others are within a block or two or a few minute's walk. Heck right now the west end people get free rides due to the I35 construction as they did last year - *LUCKY!* (*Napoleon Dynamite voice*) FREE BUS = FOR MONTHS!

As for the people who also ride the bus, on various routes (and I've pretty much had a ride on every route, every day of the week - including weekend routes and at various times) there are NO worries. 

TopOfTheHillMan is a man-wuss. I'm a female, and have taken the bus late night (in a skirt/dress even) and various other times of day due to work/shifts, or going out afterward and I have never ever felt unsafe - nor in question of any of the other riders. Some are annoying, yes. But to complain as he did, made me laugh - hard and hearty. I've seen the drivers have to tolerate or kick off a few, but very few in 3-4 yrs time. Sometimes more should have been, than were, but I guess those drivers were just more tolerant people - and good-on-them for it.

Bus riding is a people watcher's/blogger's dream. Heck whole blogs could be written about bus riders/routes/drivers and more - much like that guy who drives a taxi and blogs. At the very least - a story a day.

The DTA drivers are the best - although some are kind of a pain/no personality (should retire), whilst others are cool as f*ck (edited for TOTHM so he doesn't cry at swearing) and will go out of their way for their regular riders, and even some of those 'in need' (who aren't playin' it/the system) and I've seen heaps in my short time on the bus. I've witnessed some totally amazing drivers and some really cool/interesting/helpful riders as well as the riders who should be naturally 'selected' to leave this earth and not bother anyone ever again -  driver or rider (again, this is rare - but increasing more and more -  on the rider side mainly, with all of our new/huge influx of Chicago...'residents' or whatever you'd call them, and their piss-poor Dull-uth attitudes, and lack of manners/common courtesy overall.

Oh no she di'int!
Yes I did.
It's the truth.

Heck, I've considered becoming a driver, but, I like leaving the driving to them, and would rather read or people watch.

Some riders are very cool, some quiet, some loud, some should be sent back to Chicago where they came from, some should learn manners/common courtesy as mentioned above - young or old (regular/irregular and whilst using their mobiles/mp3 players/with their children/in public) and some should be banned for life. Jus sayin. It's not any one group or race or sex. Sucky riders come in all forms, as do sucky drivers, but for the most part, riders are students, workers and basically your average Joe/Joanne, and so are drivers.

It's an interesting mix to say the least, but Dull-uth is mild compared to larger cities - and I've taken the bus in Mpls/St Paul and in Sydney, Australia to name a few. Dull-uth is nothing.

The fares are reasonable, the drivers good/know their sh*t (for the most part - again edited for TOTHM) and for a town of this size - the routes and times are well in accordance. Not to mention the availability of schedules both in transit centers. or online, the new-ish heated shelters, and the ability to follow/search out real-time routes online using the DTA's software or Google maps, as well as the info on the DTA's home page as to route changes, detours or delays.

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't ride the bus. It's a great time to catch up on your reading/homework/study review or people watching! Go a little early if the route isn't quite at your time preference, or as some of us do, walk one way or the other, or bike, making it an exercise opportunity as well.

pross016

about 10 years ago

What do you think would cause a decrease in ridership nation or even locally?

Claire

about 10 years ago

The bus drivers in Duluth do rock, I have to say. When I was preggers, my bus driver at the time would stop **in front of my house** to drop me off. And my friend Sadie, who drives a DTA bus, drove through a blizzard once, and got people to our destination safely, with smiles on our faces.

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