Environment Transportation 10 Reasons Why You Should Use Public Transport By Manon Verchot Manon Verchot Twitter Writer Columbia University University of Kent Manon Verchot is an environmental journalist. She has worked in many countries, but now lives in New York and is a digital editor for Mongabay. Learn about our editorial process Updated October 11, 2022 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Treehugger / Catherine Song Transportation Public Transportation Active Automotive Aviation Public transportation eases congestion, reduces emissions, and gives you plenty of quality time to people watch, as well as get to know your "neighbors." In addition, public transportation allows you to relax, read or nap during that commute instead of fighting and stressing and feeling the road rage. So, what do we mean by public transportation? Well, for this article we are focusing on buses, trains, planes and ferries/boats, whether used for the daily commute or just to get around. For those of you interested in leaving that car at home, these tips discuss the merits of public transportation as well as offer suggestions for how to expand and improve public transportation in your community. Top Public Transportation Tips A (hu)man with a Plan Treehugger / Lesly Junieth If you're not sure you can do the public transportation thing, start small with one a goal of taking public transportation at least one day a week until you figure out the system. Before you know it, you'll be making friends and riding along with everyone else. Come Fly With Me Wachirawit Jenlohakit / Getty Images Try to reduce the number of plane trips you take and try not to use a plane for any trips under 600 miles. Plane trips are way more environmentally destructive than automobile trips. Get On the Bus Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Write to your city representatives to request that your community upgrade their diesel buses to fleets of electric or biodiesel buses. This will reduce the CO2 emissions generated, reduce dependence on imported oil dependency, and in the case of biodiesel engines actually run cleaner and more efficient than petrochemical diesel. Even diesel buses are worth getting on. Try the bus or train for longer trips Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Buses, trains, light rail and ferries generally have dedicated travel paths that are quicker than sitting alone in your car, which can cut down travel times. If you need to use a car, see if you can car-pool. Each of these options is much better than flying. In a car, four people would only be collectively responsible for emitting only 104 kilograms of CO2, whereas in a plane they would generate some 736 kilograms of carbon dioxide. A cross-country train trip would generate about half the greenhouse-gas emissions of driving a car. Walk to school Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Many children live close enough to walk school, but few do. Instead of driving your children the few blocks, walk with them or allow them to take the school bus. Take it step further by helping organize a walking bus for other kids in your neighborhood. Catch a taxi Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Really these are a form of public transport because you don't own them, and when you don't need the service they are made available for others to use. Look out for hybrid or pedi-cab taxis, or book with Zipcar or Uber for an even greener option. Telecommute Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Don't drive to the office, or fly to that conference, if you can arrange to complete your work/presentation electronically, or via video conferencing. Video conferencing uses at most just 7 percent of the energy used for an in-person meeting. In this age of the internet, there are so many tools that make telecommuting an effective and efficient way of working. Buy fare saver tickets Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Return, weekly/monthly, or off-peak bus/train tickets are often significantly cheaper than single ride tickets, which will encourage you to use said bus/train more often. Plan your trip Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Obtain timetable and route-maps for your journey to know what to expect in advance. Many municipal public transport systems now have free online databases than will take your staring point and destination and calculate the fastest times and best route for your trip, not to mention the wonder that is Google Maps. This can take the uncertainty out of public transport travel. Be a Change Agent Treehugger / Lesly Junieth If you don't use public transport in your local area because the service doesn't work for you, for whatever reason, then get it changed. Write letters to your city newspaper, comment on their online stories that address urban travel, join a public transport advocacy group, and meet with your local government representative. Things won't change, until you inform people you want them to. Public Transportation: By the Numbers Treehugger / Lesly Junieth All data below comes from the American Public Transportation Association's 2020 fact book. 9.9 billion: Number of trips Americans took in public transport on public transportation in 201940 percent: Reduction in U.S. reliance on foreign oil that would occur if one in ten Americans used public transportation daily.10: Number of times safer that riding public transportation is compared to riding in your own automobile.4.2 billion: Gallons of gasoline saved from people taking public transportation each year.$10,000: The amount of money saved per household by using public transportation and living with one less car View Article Sources “Electric Vehicle Benefits and Considerations.” U.S. Department of Energy. “Biodiesel Benefits and Considerations.” U.S. Department of Energy. Ong, Dennis, et al. “Comparison of the Energy, Carbon and Time Costs of Videoconferencing and In-Person Meetings.” Computer Communications, vol. 50, 2014, pp. 86-94., doi:10.1016/j.comcom.2014.02.009 “Public Transportation Facts.” American Public Transportation Association. "Welcome to the WRTA." Worcester Regional Transit Authority.