Why U.S. Public Transportation Should be Improved


Anna Odell, Staff Writer

The U.S. isn’t praised for its public transportation systems. Its routes are outdated, making it difficult for people in some areas to commute in any way other than by car. Improving the condition of our buses and trains as well as updating their routes would be extremely beneficial in reducing our carbon footprint while also giving people efficient and affordable modes of transportation.

A person shouldn’t be forced to bike miles and miles or buy a car just to get to work. For one, cars are expensive and not necessarily great for the environment. 

Learn.org said public transportation can “save an average of nearly $10,000 a year by taking mass transit instead of driving.” This proves that public transportation is a much more affordable way to commute especially since owning a vehicle can be expensive and that’s not including any repair or maintenance costs.

The lack of access to public transportation puts lower income families at a disadvantage. Many jobs are in areas that require a person to commute by car and if a person cannot afford to buy a car, they’re stuck. These people don’t have equal access to certain jobs, schools, services, etc. They don’t have the same opportunities as those who can afford to travel by car. 

An improved public transport system and more frequent metro or bus stations in lower income areas, can address poverty and help people move up the economic ladder. This is because they will actually have access to the same resources as those who don’t struggle financially. 

Especially now, sustainability and being more environmentally conscious is highly important. Cars are a huge contributor to air pollution. They emit greenhouse gasses which contribute to global warming. 

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments said “Public transit reduces the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road, which reduces the amount of pollutants entering the air.” 

Improving public transportation systems would encourage more people to choose buses or trains over cars which in turn would help the environment. Instead of thousands of cars being used for maybe one or two people at a time, metros and buses could transport many people using only one vehicle. 

In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.” 

Choosing to ride the bus or take the train to reach a destination would free road space and reduce traffic. Those who still decide to drive cars wouldn’t have to spend so much time in traffic and could get places much faster. 

Traffic congestion is yet another frustrating problem that many people face on a daily basis.

 CNN.com said, “the average American commuter wastes 54 extra hours a year in traffic delays.” 

Another argument against public transit is that it is difficult to create an efficient system. However, I don’t believe this is true. 

Europe has 75 metro systems compared to only 15 systems in the U.S according to the Global Mass Transit Report. The stops are much more frequent and their schedules are actually dependable. In countries like Germany, each train or bus arrives at its scheduled time and takes roughly the same amount of time to get to each station. In contrast, the metro systems in the U.S have stations that aren’t equally distant from each other and the scheduled times can’t be relied upon. One never knows when a bus or metro will be delayed and these delays can result in a person arriving late to work or an important event. 

If European countries were able to create a system that is so good that most people don’t even know how to drive, the U.S. can definitely do so as well. 

Unfortunately, as of right now only 5% of American workers use some form of public transit according to Census.gov. This is because of the disorganized nature of these systems and because more people use cars. Supporters of public transport don’t believe they need to use it themselves. Instead, they think it’s better for the general public, yet they make no effort to improve the state of the systems. 

However, Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan addresses some of these issues. The simplified explanation of the plan is adding transportation services to more communities and improving the existing ones. This is extremely important if we go through with it because it’ll give more people access to the same resources and opportunities. It will offer more environmentally friendly alternatives to travel as well. 

The government’s involvement in the improvement of U.S. public transit systems is extremely important in assuring everyone has a mode of transportation. As of right now it is unfair that lower income communities don’t have access to reliable systems. By fixing this issue, not only will it help communities and the public as a whole, but it will also reduce our carbon footprint which is imperative to do.


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