The Importance of Mass Public Transportation Mass transit plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of a bustling city such as the one we live in. Benefits of a functioning mass transit infrastructure include:
Public transit pollutes less than half the amount private cars do,
part of “going green”
Public transit eases congestion on the roads, a big problem in busy areas.
Accessible public transportation infrastructure helps to mobilize the populace,
as even those without a license or vehicle have adequate transportation.
Using public transportation leaves more money in the pockets of the citizens
and altogether reduces the cost of transit. Studies by the American Public Transportation Assoc. have shown that the 2010 individual will save on average $9242 by riding the bus instead of driving.
Buses run on natural gas, saving money for all involved and lessening
We surveyed a sampling of approximately 400 Highland High School students in order to come up with statistics regarding overall ridership, frequency, reasoning, and overall satisfaction with certain aspects of the ABQ RIDE infrastructure, including accessibility, coherence and cost. The breakdown is as follows:
Have you ever taken an ABQ RIDE bus? From a survey of 400 students at Highland High School, the vast majority of our peers have stated that they have taken the bus at least once in their life. While not necessarily as a form of transport or even a recent statistic, this illustrates the accessibility of the ABQ RIDE system, particularly to the younger crowd. At HHS, nearly all upperclassmen have vehicles and use them for transportation.
Do you ride the bus on a regular basis? Of the same 400 students surveyed, about half of them claimed to ride the bus on a regular basis, while the other half utilized various other forms of transportation (personal vehicle, parent dropoff, walking/riding). Of the regular riders, fifteen percent used ABQ RIDE as their main form of transportation to or from school. The remaining 35 percent of students used ABQ RIDE sporadically throughout the week.
Do you find the public transit system confusing? Of the students surveyed, nearly eighty percent of ABQ RIDE frequent riders felt that the current system was rather straightforward and sufficient. The remaining 20 percent of riders felt that their accessibility of the public transit system was hampered by the complexity of the ordeal. Common complaints dealt mainly with the recent changes to the Rapid Ride and to the fare system.
Why do you ride the bus? Of those who rode the bus on a regular basis, 62 percent stated that they did so merely because they were left with no other choice. Fifteen percent rode in order to save money on gas, registration, insurance, and other related automobile costs. Twelve percent rode to be “green” while 11 percent felt that riding the bus was easier than dealing with the hassle that comes with car ownership.
Is the bus fare too expensive? Of regular student riders, a quarter felt that the bus fare was too expensive. The remaining 76 percent of students disagreed. While expensive on a day by day basis, the discounted student rate and the 12 dollar monthly gold pass have greatly decreased the cost to students. Still, many students are unaware of the savings to be had with the monthly Gold Pass or with with several month Silver Pass.
Do the buses show up on time? During our survey, the biggest issue most students have with the public transportation system is their perceived rate of reliability. Nearly half of students who used ABQ RIDE on a regular basis have stated that their buses simply do not come on time. This is a major problem during the coldest and warmest parts of the year, and is a year round concern for females facing persecution at bus stops. When a bus is late (or worse, early), riders often have to wait even longer in the cold or heat and risk missing an appointment or deadline.
Is the bus accessible for you? In terms of raw accessibility, the vast majority of Highland High School students concluded that the bus was accessible to them. The 14 percent who decided otherwise have stated problems with times, fear of harassment, dissatisfaction with service or they were simply too confused with the current infrastructure to understand how to ride the bus, either due to complicated routes or lack of knowledge.
Ending Notes After surveying a large sampling and cross section of our school, and even going on a few test runs on different buses, we have concluded that the ABQ RIDE infrastructure is sufficiently optimised to get a rider from point A to point B. The buses are clean and run well, and most seem to be on time. With that said, the current system is confusing to both new and seasoned riders. Only with repeated usage of a certain route does a rider get the swing of things, and for new riders, the prospect of understanding how the system works can be a daunting task.
Ending Notes For example, the current route maps, while helpful and very informative to the regular and educated rider, are confusing and cramped and present a challenge to new riders, as well as the infirm, elderly and the naïve. The main problem that students seem to be facing is simply the inconvenience or perceived inconvenience of using public mass transit. The students who have bad experiences with drivers, late/early buses, overcrowding, and with the people at or around the bus stop have garnered a negative perception of the idea of public transportation. One of the greatest things ABQ RIDE can do to increase ridership is to move to negate these misconceptions about transit.