5 Benefits of Public Transportation
By Dom Lincoln
Everyday life often requires people to travel from place to place in order to access the things they need. Whether it is getting food at the grocery store, going to a doctor's appointment, visiting with friends and family, or any other activity, transportation is required to get where you need to be. Luckily, there are many different methods of transportation to choose from, with one of the best options being public transportation.
Each year, Americans take nearly 10 billion trips on public transportation, proving it is an accessible, reliable choice. Furthermore, it is good for the U.S. economy, as public transportation is an $80 billion industry that employs nearly 450,000 individuals. Additionally, every $1 billion invested in public transit creates nearly 50,000 jobs. However, there are even more benefits to using public transit services. In this article, we'll share the top 5 benefits of public transportation.
The Top 5 Benefits of Using Public Transportation:
Financial Benefits - The first main benefit of using public transportation is that it is cheaper than other options, like owning and driving a car. In fact, AAA estimates that it costs nearly $9,000 to own and operate a car each year once all of the maintenance, fuel, insurance, and other fees are factored in. On the other hand, using public transit can be as cheap as a few dollars to get where you need to go, and you don't have to worry about paying for parking, tolls, or any other expenses.
Environmental Benefits - There are also many environmental benefits of public transportation. One of these benefits is that utilizing public transit is a major way to reduce your carbon footprint, which essentially means you reduce the number of greenhouse gasses you contribute to the environment. In the United States, 6 billion gallons of gas are saved each year through the use of public transportation. This means public transit can get you wherever you need to go, and you can also limit your impact on the environment at the same time.
Social Benefits - There are also many social benefits of public transportation that come from sharing your ride with others. Since public transit often involves moving large numbers of people, it is a great way for riders to connect with those in their communities. Additionally, using public transportation means that you are not spending extended amounts of time driving alone in your own car. This can help lead to more free time to spend with friends, family, and other people in your community.
Health Benefits - Public transportation benefits also include benefits for your health and wellness. When you use public transit, you usually end up walking to/from the pickup location. In fact, it's reported that two-thirds of commuters walk to/from the stations when they use public transit services. This helps riders to get some physical activity throughout the course of their day, and can lead to improved health and overall well-being.
Mobility Benefits - Another main benefit of public transportation is mobility. While all transportation options allow you to get where you are going, public transit services are among the most versatile and widespread options. They allow people many ways to get where they want to go, and ultimately make it so people don't need to rely on others for a ride. This means riders can go wherever they want to whenever they want to.
How Rural Transit Services Like OATS Transit Complement Public Transportation
Public transportation offers many benefits, but it isn't always available in every area. In fact, 45% of Americans have no access to public transportation. One of the biggest needs of rural America is reliable transportation, and public transportation services aren't always viable options outside of urban centers. Reliable rural transportation is a key step to helping rural populations. So, what transit options are there for those households who don't have access to public transportation and also don't drive?
One of the solutions is nonprofit rural transit like OATS Transit. We're a leading specialized transportation agency serving 87 of the 114 counties in Missouri with our fleet of more than 700 mini-buses and minivans. Missouri has over 2 million residents---about 37% of the state---that live in rural areas. We serve thousands of these Missourians, including senior citizens, people with disabilities, and more.
Transportation choices like OATS Transit offer services that complement public transportation, and even provide service where public transit isn't available. These services sometimes cost less, are able to travel greater distances, include accommodations for the elderly and disabled, and more.
However, while we serve 87 counties in Missouri, we still lack local funding support. 50% of our funding comes from Federal Transit Administration grants, but the remaining 50% must come from local funding sources such as local government agencies, businesses, hospitals, foundations, and social service agencies. Usually, that 50% local funding is what keeps us from providing expanded service to even more rural Missourians. If local agencies can pool their funds together, then we can offer more service and support more rural communities.
If you or someone you know needs help with transportation services, contact us today and we'll help you get where you need to go safely and reliably! If you'd like to learn more about what we do, find out how to ride, make a donation to support our work, or apply for one of our available driving positions!
"Enhancing quality of life by providing safe, caring & reliable transportation services."
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