Megabus a Step in the Right Direction for Reducing Carbon Emissions

Published on January 24th, 2011

Environmentalists have long fought for sensible mass transportation to get gas-guzzling vehicles off the highway. Efficient bus and rail service allows people to commute more efficiently and economically. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the average driver spends 34 hours stuck in traffic. Enter Megabus, a “no frills,” double-decker bus that offers service between several major U.S. hubs including Pittsburgh, my home town, as well as locations in Europe and Canada. Since I am planning a trip to New York next month, I would normally be facing a choice between two evils: flying or driving. Calculating every factor, both are equally expensive and inconvenient. If I fly, I have to leave about three hours before departure to allow for driving time to the airport, parking and clearing security. The plane may or may not depart on time. Then, upon arrival, I still have to get into town either by taxi or shuttle. All in, I estimate my cost would be about $650. On the other hand, if I drive I can avoid certain inconveniences but not the grueling boredom of the five-hour journey, the horrific traffic as I approach Manhattan, the risks inherent in maneuvering the city streets and the $40 per night parking charges. Including mileage, parking, tolls and gas, I can bring my New York trip in for less than flying, about $400.00, but it’s still a daunting, unpleasant prospect. Instead, I’ve booked on Megabus for $33.00 outbound and $5.00 return plus a fifty-cent reservation fee; my total: $38.50. Had I been quicker off the mark, I could have booked my return for $1.00 since fares increase as the departure date draws nearer. My bus will make one stop at Penn State University, has Wi-Fi available, and according to reviews, is generally comfortable, clean and prompt: no annoying security checks and no charge for baggage. All I need to board is my reservation number which I printed out. Including the stop at State College and a fifteen-minute rest stop, my trip will take slightly less than eight hours. More good news: the bus disembarks near Penn Station with easy access to the subway and cabs. Eight hours is more than I would normally want to spend on a bus. But, the upside, I don’t have to drive and I don’t have to worry about potential endless airport delays. I’ll have books, magazines and a picnic lunch so I’ll be prepared for anything. Once the word spreads about the Megabus, its popularity is bound to grow and it will be one tiny step in getting vehicles off our overcrowded highways and reducing deadly carbon emissions.

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