The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Tri-State Commuters Adjusting to $3 Gas


There are already signs that New York City area residents are adapting their commutes to save money on fuel.

While we will have to wait until the end of the month to see just how many commuters have switched over to MetroNorth and Long Island Railroad trains or private bus lines, reports are flooding in that there are many newcomers on the trains over the last 2 weeks since Katrina sent gas over the $3/gallon mark.

According to a NY Times article, people in the Tri-State area are adjusting their commutes to consume less gas, including carpooling.

From MetroNorth: "Officials of the Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit said this week that they believed more people were leaving their cars at home and riding trains and buses to and from work....the officials said their conductors had been noticing new faces and were more frequently fielding questions usually asked by newcomers."

From NJ Transit: "Officials of New Jersey Transit also believe that people have been making the switch to mass transit as the cost of driving has shot up this summer, said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for the transit agency. New Jersey Transit raised its fares by an average of 11.5 percent on July 1, an increase that would reduce ridership by 2 or 3 percent normally, he said. But so far, there has been no measurable decline in the number of passengers, he said."

From a new carpooler: I really enjoyed the freedom of my own car until I realized it was just strapping me," Ms. Reeves, 45, said in an interview this week. Her first response was to start splitting the driving on the 80-mile round trip with a co-worker. But now she is preparing to share the pain inflicted at the pump with a group of six colleagues in a van subsidized by federal and state programs, which she estimated would reduce their monthly cost of commuting to about $80 each."

Even if they don't see the big picture about peak oil, people can adapt their consumption patterns to a certain extent if they have the incentives. Hopefully gas prices will continue to steadily increase, driving more people into a more sustainable lifestyle before we reach the peak.

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