Thursday, September 15, 2005


Bus Ridership Swells by 3%

Kansas City's Area Tranportation Authority (ATA) credits the high cost of gasoline with an increase in ridership of 3% for 2005. At least, according to an article in today's Kansas City Star.

The article went on to say about 50,000 people ride the bus every day. The opportunity to serve more riders excites the ATA, who hope to keep the new customers even after the shock of recent rises in fuel costs wears off.

What the article did not point out is that the metropolitan area has over 1,864,000 people. Bus ridership is pitifully small as a percentage of the total. And a 3% increase in a 50,000 rider base is actually only 1,500 individuals.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad those 1,500 people will no longer be competing with me for a parking space. Moreover, I'm glad their reduced fuel consumption will help ease pressure on prices. But 1,500 people out of a population of 1,864,000?

Putting this change in behavior into context underscores the basic point: rising fuel costs hurt only poor people.

You fixed the sidebar! Yay! Did my idea work?

On a contrarian note, though, there is evidence that SUV sales are taking a hit on account of the rising gas prices. I'm not gonna argue that rich people are hurting as much as poor ones as a result (and I'd reckon that more poor people drive pickups than richies) but some of the moneyed folks just might be buying more sensible vehicles, which is a good thing as far as the environment goes, right?
Of course, you are right. I guess it all depends on what you mean by "hurts" in this context.

No one in my social circle talks about having to choose between food and fuel.

The choice for many people I work with has mostly been between food and medicine. I can only imagine what gas prices are doing to them.
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