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Letter To The Editor: Public Transit Provides Economic, Environmental, Convenience And Health Benefits

on January 20, 2019 - 9:52am
Engineering Project Manager
Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities
For the past 4 1/2 years, I have been a regular user of public transit, as I live near Glorieta and work in Los Alamos. I utilize the NMDOT Park and Ride, Atomic City Transit and occasionally the Rail Runner from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. I choose to take public transit for a variety of reasons, among them economics, environmental impact, convenience and health.
My daily commute is 100 miles round trip. With a vehicle that only gets 14 miles per gallon (at an estimated $2.40 per gallon), I would be spending nearly $350 per month in fuel costs alone, without taking into account the wear and tear on my vehicle. Compare that to the cost of my monthly New Mexico Park and Ride pass at $90. The Atomic City Transit system is free. Environmentally taking public transit allows me to cut back on contributing to greenhouse gases and lessens my carbon footprint.
In my line of work, public transit is incredibly convenient. I walk approximately 200 yards from my house to my office door. With differing schedules, this may not be the case for all riders, however, with improved funding for transit and additional routes being offered by expansion, it very easily could be.
In terms of improved health, by taking public transit, I am able to work, read, sleep and simply relax, instead of driving amongst the hundreds of commuters going to and from work on NM 502. I’ve replaced the stress and hustle and bustle of the daily commute with a relaxing and convenient method of transportation that gets me to and from work on time.
These are my personal reasons for using transit. Many people rely on public transit every day. In using the transit system, I’ve come across people from all walks of life—many of whom use public transit because it enables them to get around at low or no cost. Students, seniors, those with disabilities or medical conditions, and those who simply want a better option than relying on their own car all regularly use public transit—some out of need, and some by choice. Regardless of the rider’s background, transit allows people the opportunity to get to and from work or school, to go shopping, to attend special events, and to run errands.
I am a lifelong resident of New Mexico, and I firmly believe in the importance of public transit. It is an option that is open to all, and it benefits many. For those who have not yet tried out public transit, I encourage you to do so for the benefit of your community and our environment. And, I encourage our lawmakers to recognize the importance of transit in communities across the state by ensuring adequate funding is available.
Essentially, public transportation can not only lessen our carbon footprint, but it also provides vital services for seniors, individuals with disabilities and those without access to a vehicle. Additionally, transit improves our local economies by getting people to and from work, many of whom would otherwise not have the option of transportation. Public Transportation is important in our communities, and would not be possible without the dedicated men and women who fund the programs, manage the personnel and schedules, dispatch and drive the buses. I hope to see public transit expand in our state, and with adequate funding for transit, New Mexico communities will have an opportunity to grow and expand, and to do so with less harm to the environment.