While I am sensitive to the impact of gas prices on some individuals whose situation prevents them from driving less, the vast majority of people can drive less if they are willing to make some easy compromises. Even those that swear there is no other options. I hear stories every day like, "I couldn't possibly drive less as I have to take my kids to school". In reality most people don't have to take their kids to school, they choose to. Or, "the bus doesn't serve my neighborhood." It would if you lived in a transit ready development. It is all about priorities. People have chosen to buy houses from from work and far from school and are now paying the price. The rest of us have been paying their price for some time in higher taxes, poor air quality, environmental degradation and lack of open space.
Good news in my opinion in the local news today, people are driving less. A few statistics from the story:
- The volume of gas sold in Idaho was down 6% in April compared to a year ago.
- ValleyRide (the Boise bus system) has increased ridership of its long routes by 40% in the past year (Nampa/Caldwell to Boise). Only a 5% increase within Boise.
- ACHD has added twelve new commuteride vans in the past year. Ridership is up 20%.
This is all good news for our air quality, our environment, our national security, our trade deficit, etc. People are finally realizing there are alternatives. It is unfortunate that high gas prices is what it takes to cause these positive changes to occur.