Public Transit Up, Driving Down as Gas Prices Increase
Proving that basic economic concepts like elasticity of demand and substitution of goods are not outmoded, the American public is responding to increases in gas prices by driving less and taking public transit more.
Soaring gas prices are pushing more Americans to take public transit, with streetcars, trolleys and other light rail experiencing a 10.3 percent increase in ridership for the first quarter of the year, according to a report released yesterday by the American Public Transportation Association. Americans took 2.6 billion trips on all modes of public transportation, including subways and buses, in the first three months of 2008, a 3.3 percent increase, or almost 85 million more trips than in the same period last year, the report said.
The U.S. Transportation Department reported last month that in March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March 2007, a decline of 4.3 percent and the first time since 1979 that traffic has dropped from one March to the next.
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