Ridership Up As Gas Prices Rise
COLUMBIA- John Stahr waits daily for a ride on a Columbia Transit bus, but all the wait it worth it to him. "I can go the whole week for ten dollars riding on the bus and getting everywhere I need to go."
Riders find the one dollar fare a great way to save money. "I save quite a bit of money riding the bus versus gas," said Montreal Banks a bus rider. He saves anywhere from $35 to $40 a week.
$40 a week can barely fill most gas tanks up these days. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gas is $3.81. Missouri's average is $3.61. That's ten cents more than last week, and thirty cents from just a month ago.
Increasing gas prices have people looking for other alternatives for getting around town. "The cost of owning a car are sometimes quite high when you put insurance and gas and maintenance and all those factors. Sometimes it's a cheaper option to take the bus than to drive," said Drew Brooks, Columbia Transportation Supervisor.
Ridership is up 12% from last month. Ridership averaged 11, 895 rides on a weekday during March. That includes the whole bus system and the MU campus services. But saving money isn't the only benefit. Brooks said riding the bus can benefit your health because you will most likely walk or bike to get to a bus stop. It also helps the environment. Fewer cars on the road, means less air pollution. People also find the time on bus commutes beneficial for getting work done, reading or evening just texting while not driving, according to Brooks.