Another Media Wish: Gas Prices Fueling Increase in Public Transportation according to the AP


So says the headline.

But reading the article, there is no proof that this is the case. Here are the pertinent quotes.

It’s a trend that Joe Calabrese, general manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, expects to continue as long as a gallon of gas remains about $2.

“I know there are people on the bus today that weren’t on the bus three years ago,” he said.

Bonnie Arnold, Spokeswoman for South Florida Regional Transportation Authority:

We get to know our people,” spokeswoman Bonnie Arnold said. “It’s just a recurring comment that gas prices have gotten out of hand. Once it goes over $2 we do see an increase down here.”

Spokesman Scott Reed:

It’s pretty clear the spike in gas prices resulted in a corresponding increase in ridership,” Reed said.

Owen King, Patron

Owen King, 54, has been taking the bus to work in Cleveland for 10 years and knows that recently there’s been a little less elbow room.

“I’ve seen more people than usual and overheard conversations where people are saying gas is out of sight and there’s no end in sight,” King said.

So you have anecdotal evidence by  4 spokepeople for the rail companies and riders that they feel that ridership has increased and that increase is because of the price of fuel. But there is no survey data to back it up.

At the same time these mass transit providers are being hit by the same fuel increases and if ridership does not improve they will be faced with greater losses. And it will bust another myth in the folklore of liberalism.

I do not disagree that some people will ride the bus instead of pay 30% more for gas. But the reality is that if you took the losses that mass transit costs the tax payers and applied that money for oil exploration, the price of fuel would probably not have gotten that high as we would already have fuel coming out of the gulf and ANWAR to counteract this problem.

I would always feel better if they could show a survey on new ridership to prove this point, as opposed to spokespeople trying to drum up business.

Posted April 23, 2005 by
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