National and state public transit supporters and the Sierra Club have designated Thursday June 16th, 2011 as “DUMP THE PUMP” day.
Nashville, TN – Robin Hill, chair of the Tennessee Sierra Chapter’s Transportation Committee said: “We are asking folks to help themselves by finding a public transportation or car pool alternative to replace driving alone in your personal automobile. We think many folks will find real savings with gasoline at around $3.50 a gallon.”
“Not everyone has access to public transportation but many of us have access to a group of acquaintances who go to their daily work in their personal car. For these people, a carpool gets several people to their workplaces in a single car. Try to set up a carpool for the day.” added Hill.
He continued: “Any person who lives in a town or rural area with public transportation should be able to find a toll free or local phone number and talk to the transit provider to see if public transportation is available to or near your workplace on a suitable schedule. If not, then a carpool would be the next best method of getting to work without driving alone.”
Hill added: “If public transportation is used, please give the transportation system operator your comments on how the service could be made better based on your experience on the trip.”
Hill, who is a retired railroader and professional engineer pointed out: “Most of us have used some sort or carpool or public transportation starting with school buses. Public transportation can be fun since you don’t need to drive. You can read a book, a newspaper, listen to your Ipod with your eyes closed or, as many of us have done after a hard day, just simply sleep. Riding is much more fun than driving for many of us because it offers a way to use the time for fun or productive things instead of coping with driving problems. Try meeting your transportation needs a different way on June 16th.”
Brian Paddock, a Sierra Club activist joined the call to “Dump the Pump”. He said: “I envy my brother who lives in Cookeville, one of several smaller cities that now has fixed route minibus service. Even out in the sticks in Jackson County, if I plan ahead I can use the Upper Cumberland Area Regional Transit Service (UCARTS) to get to town and do a whole loop of errands.”
“I am tired of being extorted by Big Oil. I am going to join June 16th as Dump the Pump Day, when we Americans all across the country will take a stand against Big Oil by ditching the gas pump and using public transit to get to work, school and play.” continued Paddock.
“I follow transportation and oil issues and I know that public transportation already saves 4.2 billion gallons of gas each year – more than 20 times the amount of oil that spilled in the BP Gulf oil disaster. Public transportation out in Jackson County where I live is not as good as it needs to be. But it seems to me that investing in public transit will mean saving billions of additional gallons of oil, and redirect billions of dollars toward local economies and job creation – money that is currently flowing to foreign oil producers.” added Paddock.
Every week day, Americans make 35 million trips via public transit and, with gas prices climbing across the country, more Americans are using transit. The American Public Transit Association’s Transit Savings Report1 shows that Americans save an average of $10,116 per year by switching to transit. Our Tennessee Department of Transportation studies show that the cost of auto ownership takes too much of the income of Tennesseans who are at median income and below. This was true when gas was less than $2.00 a gallon and auto prices, insurance and car reepair have not gone down since TDOT studied this issue. [Tennessee Long-Range Transportation Plan – Challenges and Opportunities Page 3-5]2
“I have written to Congresswoman Diane Black and President Obama to tell them that America needs a modern public transportation system that reduces pollution, saves us money at the pump and moves us beyond oil. The evidence is that investing in public transit means creating in jobs here at home-funding public transportation creates twice as many jobs per dollar as funding highways.” Paddock added.
“Probably many more Tennesseans are ready to “dump the pump” and are tired of letting the oil industry call the shots. But only half of Americans have access to any public transportation, keeping everyone else shackled to the gas pump. We need to try using public transit as one of the many ways that Americans can cut air pollution, save money by filling up less at the gas pump, and help our country move beyond oil.’ concluded Paddock.
2 “Not atypical, Tennessee residents spend a relatively large portion of their income on transportation. Only expenditures for housing exceed those for transportation in the typical household budget. Studies of income and travel behavior relationships support the observation that transportation is both a necessity and a discretionary good. For many lower income households, transportation spending is a necessity that consumes a significant share of total expenditures. According to the 2000 Census, transportation spending ranges from about $2,500 for the lowest income quintile to nearly $12,500 per year for households in the highest income quintile. About 94 percent of transportation spending is related to the acquisition, operation, and upkeep of private motor vehicles. The national average cost of driving a new passenger car in 2000 was 49.1 cents a mile, or $7,363 a year. This rate increased in 2004 to 56.2 cents a mile, or $8,431 a year, a 13 percent increase.” TDOT Challenges and Opportunities report (2005).