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Public transportation sees an increase in riders
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TALLAHASSEE (Bay News 9) -- Gas prices have pushed many to consider other forms of transportation, and that has resulted in an increase public transportation riders.

The number of people in Pinellas County using public transportation is up about 10 percent from 2007, and Hillsborough County reported about a 7.5 percent increase over last year.

But, Florida's consumer advocates complain that's still not good enough.

Bus rider Lisa Crawford said she saves around $450 a month by taking the bus.

"Once you get used to it, it's not bad at all," Crawford said. "It teaches you a little patience, you get to meet a lot of different people, and I think it's great - actually -- now that I'm used to the waiting."

Even though ridership is up, there are still plenty of empty seats on many buses. And the belief is that a lot of drivers will continue to put up with high gas prices until public transportation becomes easier.

That's why a coalition of consumer groups have a message for Congress: Spend more money on expanding bus routes and adding rail lines and bring down the cost of a ticket.

Jud Parker with Florida PIRG said a bill up for debate this week could funnel $81 million to Florida alone.

"Investment in that should increase ridership, which will give consumers the choice to decide whether they want to be that slave to their automobile, or whether they would rather take public transportation," Parker said.

The consumer coalition is also unveiling a new study. It shows that this week marks the point when the average Florida family has spent the bulk of their economic stimulus check on gas. Public transportation advocates said that is all the more reason to invest in their cause.

http://www.baynews9.com/content/36/...lic+transportation+sees+an+increase+in+riders
 

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Maybe Tampa or Orlando will get some type of rail transit....also wishful thinking, but it does start with a dream!

Steve
 
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