Sustainability

Public transportation benefits environment, wallet

We use fossil fuels as an energy resource every day. What heats your residence hall, provides you with electricity and light, and powers your classrooms’ projectors? Probably not renewable energy.

While it isn’t very easy to cut down on how much energy you use in your residence hall or classrooms, transportation is a relatively simple way to lessen your impact on the planet. Most transportation options use fossil fuels, which are finite and emit exhaust that pollutes the air.Riding the bus is a great way to save energy and money. While CDTA buses are not always an option, depending on where you need to go, when they are an option, they are free with your ID. The buses are running anyways, so adding another passenger isn’t a big deal. The 87 bus goes to Walmart and Price Chopper. The 286 and 280 buses both have stops near RPI and go downtown. The 22 and the 224 buses leave from downtown Troy and go to Albany.

Depending on where you are going, traveling by bus may be a very simple ride. You can read a book or work on homework while on the bus, both of which are not recommended to do while driving a car. Despite the longer travel time period, the amount of time you’re not being productive may be less when you take the bus.

For longer trips, you can use other types of mass transit to cut down on your fossil fuel use. Trains and buses might take longer than a car (and certainly longer than a plane), but there are many advantages, too.

You don’t have to worry about directions. On trains, you don’t have to worry about traffic. Trains and buses can be quite cheap—during the summer, I went to New York City via Mega Bus for twenty bucks.

I also used the train to go home for a week. Travelling to Wisconsin in a train takes around twenty hours, but there was a lot more space than in a plane. Plus, I was able to bring a regular-size contact lens solution and other liquids that would have been confiscated had I flown. Passengers on trains and buses are generally allowed to walk around and stretch. Bathrooms on trains and buses have more room, too.

Carpooling is another way to reduce your impact on the planet. If you and a friend both want to go food shopping, to see a movie, or anything else, carpooling saves gas. This is good for the planet and your bank account. RPI subreddit often has carpooling threads around major holiday breaks.

Students can post where they are going or where they need a ride to. If you have a significant other or family that you visit frequently, you can also try to find other people who often travel to the same city and save money and gas.

Another way to reduce environmental impacts during transportation is carsharing. Carsharing allows one the convenience of a private car without the responsibility or costs of owning one.

If people car-share and carpool, they can reduce their impact on the planet and not have to worry about some of the negatives of public transportation. Save money and the environment by choosing public transportation when possible. When that fails, try to carpool. Not only will your wallet and the planet be happier, but you might also meet and talk to some cool people from different backgrounds!