I know a lot of scooter riders are NOT into taking the bus, especially because the bus does not match their sunny-Italian-Vespa-stylish-scarf image of scootering. Well I like my scooter, but I’m a little more practical. This past week, everyday, I took the bus. Allow me to deviate from my usual scooter focus and talk about that.
If you want some reasons for taking the bus, read my last posting on this. And you should also read a great story from Jeff about his January Bus Challenge. I decided to look at some numbers, because I’m a nerd like that. 🙂 Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Using googlemaps I found out that I saved driving the car 26.6 miles per day. Not bad. For last week I saved driving 133 miles. Next I assume I ride the bus all the time to work, meaning only 3 weeks in the year would be scooter riding or car riding. This means (including vacation and sick days and holidays) I would be riding the bus 45 weeks in a year. This is 5,985 miles not driven in a year, which rounds to 6,000 miles not driven in a year. Sweeet!
Now just for today I’m going to ignore some cost numbers. Obviously I am saving on the gas those 6,000 miles don’t eat up (which at today’s gas price of $3 is $600) and on the other hand, I have to buy the COTA monthly express bus pass ($324 at my employee rate)… well I guess I couldn’t ignore the numbers, huh? Well, I’m just going to gloss over them. So moving right along (ahem) I want to focus on the environmental “benefit” of not driving those 6,000 miles.
Since I don’t have numbers for all the externalities, I’m just going to use a shortcut. Have you heard of Terrapass? I’ve seen the internet ads, and recently noticed a few cars here in Metro Columbus with little Terrapass stickers. I think it’s a nice idea, but a little lame. So you paid some money, and now you can feel OK/smug about driving so much? Ehhh. Right to pollute and all that. Anyways, they use a rate of 19.564 (per gallon of gas) to estimate how many pounds of carbon dioxide your car emits.
Anyways, you can input your car and get a pass… I found their mileage numbers to be optimistic (so if your sticker says 25-33, they are probably using 33 instead of 25 or 30). For these 6,000 miles… (crunch some numbers) …. they recommend a $29.70 “Around Towner” Terrapass. This actually covers the 6,000 miles and then some. (Because the 6,000 miles produce just under 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, and this pass covers 6,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.) Close enough.
Conclusion? Using Terrapass to help convince people to not drive isn’t going to work. I like to help the environment, but if someone told me that I could pay $29.70 to get rid of my guilt for driving 6,000 miles a year, I would say “heck, so why not drive 60,000 miles and pay more? $29.70 is nothing.” Anyways, I’ll just focus on the 6,000 miles number and all the extra sleep and reading I get done on the bus instead.