Commuting ideas for the Bay Area

April 30, 2008 6:53:04 PM PDT
Soaring gas prices appear to be inspiring more people to give-up driving solo. Some are opting instead to share the cost with other commuters.

Transit advocates say they have the remedy for pain at the pump.

"Carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, walking, teleworking," said 511 Rideshare consultant Elham Shirazi.

The San Francisco Department of the Environment teamed up with 511 Rideshare to get the word out to employers at a transit fair on Wednesday.

Shirazi says the employer is key.

"I think the number one thing to do is to get an employer on board to first offer some of these programs and once employees see that they have other choices than paying for parking every month then they're more likely to change their behavior," said Shirazi.

Not just parking, but also the costs of wear and tear on the car, fuel costs, bridge tolls and then of course the toll it takes on the environment.

High gas prices are believed to be behind an 80 percent jump in new 511 vanpools last month, as compared with the same time last year.

Instead of five new vanpools, there were nine formed in the Bay Area, representing an average savings of 700,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

There are already 163 rideshare vanpools in the Bay Area, that's an average savings of more than 12 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

And for the occasional trip, there are the hourly-use cars like City CarShare and Zipcar. Leila Hasan is one happy customer.

"I've considered getting a car before, but if you do the math, Zipcar is cheaper and you also don't have to do maintenance or worry about parking," said Hasan.

About 70 San Francisco employers came to Wednesday's transit fair.


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