Archive for December 18th, 2008

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 | Author: admin

I saw this article last month about NJ Transit suspending the purchase of natural gas buses.  They had been buying some low-polluting buses over the last 10 years, but will discontinue any new acquisitions due to the overall costs.  The story quotes Dan Stessel, a NJ Transit spokesman:

“If we were to move to CNG (compressed natural gas) on a wide scale, it would require millions and millions of dollars of capital improvements”

They say they will consider CNG in the future, but right now it is more cost effective to purchase new ultra-low diesel buses.  NJ Transit plans on replacing half of its’ fleet and buying 1,145 of the diesel buses at a cost of $330,000 each.  Some quick math yields almost $380 million dollars being spent.

7222NJ Transit should be commended for this 10 year trial period, but why stop now?  It seems very short sighted.  If that is the case, then I would argue that this amount of money could be better utilized by investing in Passenger Energy.  Now a bus carrying 40 people is more efficient than 10 cars carrying 4 people each.  Except for one thing, the 10 cars are making the trip anyway as single passenger vehicles.  So while the people riding the bus are not using their own vehicles, many others are.

If we could move bus riders into the unused capacity of the cars, it would immediately reduce traffic, save fuel and cut carbon emissions.  Many cars are traveling the exact same routes as the buses for the majority of the trip.  So cars could carry passengers the bulk of the trip and then buses move people to their local stops.  Car drivers could earn some extra cash by picking up passengers who in turn save money on bus fares.  This seems so obvious to me if we could just get past our fear of strangers.  Any ideas on how we can do that?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Kriston Lewis

Category: Mass Transit, Red  | Tags: ,  | One Comment