How many more “Pain at the Pump” stories can we bear?
Yes, we all know the price of gas is high, and probably going higher. Yes, we all know ethanol is driving up the prices at the grocery store. Is any of this really newsworthy anymore? Ever wonder how many times the same story can be recycled?
Well kudos to Dispatch reporter Tim Doulin for doing more than clicking on columbusgasprices.com and moving on to talk about solutions.
Save on gas: Park your car
Many people turn to COTA, ride sharing
Thursday, March 13, 2008
By Tim Doulin
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
With gas prices heading toward $4 a gallon, some commuters are looking at alternatives to their gas-powered cars and trucks, and more are turning toward public transportation.COTA ridership is up 3 percent during the past 12 months. In January, the bus company provided 1.29 million rides, up 4.7 percent compared with January 2007.
“We are seeing increases, and I am confident we are going to continue to see increases as gas prices go up,” said William Lhota, president and chief executive officer of the Central Ohio Transit Authority.
Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation in 2007, according to the American Public Transportation Association. That is the highest number in 50 years and a 2.1 percent increase over 2006.
However, most of the increase was on light rail, commuter rail and subways.
COTA’s pursuit of a light-rail system was shelved a couple of years ago.
“Central Ohio has indicated that light rail is not something that is viable right now,” Lhota said. “But as gas prices go up, in my opinion, eventually central Ohio will have to look at options other than a bus.”
Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman wants the city to look into a streetcar system that could run between Downtown and the Ohio State University area. The big consideration is how to finance it, but the mayor is expected to make a recommendation soon on whether to move forward.