It may be Car-Free day today, but many commuters have already chosen to go car free over the past few years. Between 2007 and 2008, as gas prices soared, public transit saw a surge, according to a report by Environment America. Across the state of Maryland, ridership on buses and subways increased 15%. In Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia, ridership rose 24%. In the District, where ridership tends to be higher -- the change was more modest - at 3%.
Rebecca Perring is with the Coalition for Smarter Growth, "what this really means is that commuters are saving money." She says there have been environmental consequences to the trend.
"This has saved fuel equal to 450,000 cars in the dc reegion, and 2 and half tons of carbon emissions." It's unclear how the recession is affecting publict transit in 2009. Rob McCulloch, lead author of the report, says recession generally decreases travel activity, but more people use public transportation because of cost. A telling sign is bus ridership in the first half of 2009 compared to a year before. It's up 30% in D-C.
Sabri Ben-Achour reports...