Tuesday, September 30, 2008

News: College students adapt to high gas prices

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Instead of driving, students opt to walk, ride public transportation, or use Zipcar

College students are arguably the group most sensitive to swings in gasoline prices and the quickest to adjust. So how has the dorm set reacted as the price at the pump surged then declined somewhat to a $3.64 national average?

They're finding inventive ways to spend less time behind the wheel, and university administrators are finding creative ways to assist them.

Just like the rest of Americans, students are mulling whether to use public transportation. Nationwide, ridership has been on an upswing. This year, public transportation ridership soared to over 2.8 billion trips in the second quarter of 2008 – an increase of about 140 million rides compared with trips taken in 2007, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Of these riders, some 10.7 percent of public transit riders are students, according to a May 2007 study by the APTA.

Campuses have also seen a shift in students' commuting behaviors. At Michigan State University, cars in the university's commuter parking lot have declined 25 percent to 1,661 vehicles in the past year, according to the campus police. And biking to campus has also picked up speed among students. During July and August, students registered 2,346 bikes – an increase from the 858 bikes registered during the same months in 2003, the police said.

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