So. Another Earth Day has been observed. In the interim since the previous Earth Day, the United Nations climatologists have advised us all that we have but 15 years in which to cut carbon emissions drastically or it may be too late to make good-faith efforts with any realistic hopes of salvation of the planet.
Yet the vast majority of Americans feel it is entirely appropriate for a family to own two or three cars, and to drive less than half a mile to do shopping or small errands — whether or not there is excellent public transit available locally. This seems incomprehensible to many of us who still find ourselves in a tiny minority of the population: the faithful users of the Marble Valley Regional Transit District — The Bus.
In Rutland, excellent and very affordable public transportation is available six days a week (a few routes serving outlying areas also run on Sundays). A monthly pass is just $10 for most adults and $7.50 for senior citizens for destinations within the city; a pass to outlying areas costs only slightly more.
Virtually any major employer with the city of Rutland can be reached easily by bus for anyone who lives in the city of Rutland or along the corridors that go out to Killington, Fair Haven, Pittsford, Brandon, Middlebury and Ludlow. It is also possible to travel between Rutland and Burlington through transfers in Middlebury to another bus, six days a week.
It’s far too easy for people to hear the 15-year warning from the U.N. and immediately come up with all manner of reasons for not making any lifestyle changes at all — but excuses seem flimsy indeed when one lives in a community that already has good, cheap public transportation available that is shamefully underutilized.
When one considers the cost of gasoline for a single car, together with the costs of auto repairs and auto insurance, it would seem reasonable to see three or four times as many bus passengers as we currently see. What kind of justifications are people using to continue driving everywhere rather than joining the bus-riding population who are definitely doing their bit to help Mother Earth?
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