A US Congressman once proclaimed that, "There can be no doubt that the transportation sector is the most critical sector of our economy." I know exactly what he means. In this day and age, access to transportation is considered a necessity.
Public transportation is defined as a service that is available for use by the general public. It is a cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative. It is not a transportation service that you can arrange privately to suit your own personal convenience (although you may, to a certain extent, such as paying for a cabin or suite on a train or ship) since you have to consider other passengers who are riding and making similar arrangements with you.
I have experienced first-hand how important public transportation is.
I live in Saipan, a US territory and the closest things we have to public transportation are tourist and school buses. You have to have your own car or bike, rent a car, or pay upfront for a taxi to go from point A to point B. Otherwise you end up basked in sweat and sunburn traveling to work every day. When I first came here, I walked. I walked going to and from work. I walked to the store and lugged my heavy groceries back to the house. I walked to church and I barely got to go to places farther than a twenty-mile radius from my house since I did not own a car then, and I considered renting a car and riding a taxi such an expense for a starting single mother like I was at that time.
For me, public transportation is very important because of the following reasons:
1. It saves money. According to research done by the American Public Transportation Association, individuals can save up to $9,515 annually by parking their cars at home and using public transportation instead. In this economy, saving money has become a main concern in most households. With the rising prices of fuel and other vehicle-related expenses, doing the public commute to work and school certainly saves money.
2. It helps the environment. When you switch from driving your car to taking public transport, you are reducing your carbon footprint and making a great step forward in saving the environment. The environmental costs of individuals using their cars every day have done massive damage to the environment and if the majority or all individuals like you and me use public transport instead, think of what good we could do for the environment.
3. It will wean us out of energy dependence. According to a paper made by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue and Dr. Claude Comtois, transportation accounts for approximately 25% of world energy demand and for more than 62% of all the oil used each year. Ninety-five percent of transportation is almost completely reliant upon petroleum products with the exception of railways using electrical power. While the use of petroleum for other economic sectors, such as industrial and electricity generation, has remained relatively stable, the growth in oil demand is mainly attributed to the growth in transportation demand.
When we strengthen our public transportation services, we are consequently lessening this oil demand and dependence. It will also motivate us to consider alternative energy and fuel resources.
4. It provides ease and convenience. Having public transportation definitely eases some of the burdens of people who do not have cars or prefer not to own one. They are provided with choices to use public transport. Public transportation also provides valuable services not just to local inhabitants in the area but to tourists as well. When a tourist visits a place, which does not have public transportation, their choices are limited and the experience they get is limited, too.
All in all, public transportation improves our way of life, strengthens the community, provides new jobs for the public and gives us a cleaner environment.