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Riding Green on Public Transportation

Using buses and trains is greener than driving because there’s strength in numbers: The amount of polluting gases emitted divided by the number of passengers means that each person is responsible for much less pollution than a single person in a single vehicle. (Buses and trains also cut down on traffic congestion, which otherwise wastes your time and money.) All told, using public transportion reduces the carbon footprint of your journey.

People give several reasons for not using public transport, but others give just as many reasons for loving it.

Arguments For and Against Using Public Transportation
Cons Pros
Concerns about safety and security Trains and buses can be safer and more secure than vehicles because passengers benefit from becoming part of a community with other passengers.
Extra travel time involved Passengers have time to read the papers, do the daily puzzles, and do needlework.
Unreliability and lack of nearby service Most major cities have consistent service during morning and afternoon rush hours on the most heavily traveled routes.

Realistically, safety is a concern in some places and at some times, and reading a full-sized newspaper in a packed subway car can be challenging. But many objections to public transportation can be alleviated by choosing routes and times carefully: Leaving 30 minutes earlier for your commute to work, for example, may give you some much-appreciated elbow room.

If public transportation is reasonably effective at getting you where you need to go, think seriously about switching — if even for just a few days a week.

To find the best option, check your local transportion service provider’s Web site to see whether you can get from home to work (and other destinations for that matter). Most providers have excellent Web sites that can help you plan your journey; you can find timetable information, route maps, fare information, ticketing options, and destination information.

If HopStop services your city, you can use the site to navigate public transit more easily. HopStop gives you all kinds of options for combining different forms of transportation, including walking.

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