As part of a society driven by time management, many people choose the most convenient mode of transportation, regardless of the environmental consequences.
But with gas prices soaring in the wake of hurricane Katrina, we are faced with a choice between saving money or saving time – taking the metro or taking the car. But we also have the option of thinking environmentally while taking the more economical option.
The current economic situation and the price of gas put us in the perfect spot to think about whether we really need to drive rather than walk, bike or use public transportation. It’s a good time to form new habits that benefit not only ourselves but also the world we live in.
Not all students can afford to own a car. But for those who do, taking the bus or riding a bicycle once in a while is a great way to cut down on greenhouse gases, which lead to global warming and climate change.
Unfortunately, metro fares keep going up. But while they have risen consistently over the last few years, Montrealers don’t have it so bad compared to residents of Canada’s other major cities.
In Vancouver students pay the regular adult fare of $69 per month. There are three bus “zones” and it costs extra to move between them, but students don’t pay the extra zone fees. University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University students can get a “U-pass” which costs only $22 to $24.50 monthly, but it is a mandatory school fee paid with their tuition.
Ottawa doesn’t have a metro system but an adult bus pass is $65 or $80 and a student pass will run you $53.25 to $61.75, depending on whether or not you take the rush hour buses.
In Toronto, the cost of an adult-fare monthly pass is $98.75. Students pay $83.25 per month, unless they choose the discounted annual plan at $76.25 per month.
But the cost of a full adult-fare monthly pass in Montreal is only $61, and students up to the age of 25 pay about half that price.
Even if you dislike the STM there are alternatives. Carpooling is a good option, and if you’re traveling between campuses the shuttle bus leaves every 10 to 15 minutes during the day. And you can’t beat the price – it’s free! If you’re close enough, biking and walking are also healthy options.
Natural disasters can provide an incentive for people to start paying attention to the effects our actions have on the environment. Although scientists cannot directly link this particular hurricane with climate change or global warming, because hurricanes happen all the time, people are becoming more aware of climate change and its potential to cause catastrophes like Katrina.
Taking the metro instead of the car won’t stop environmental disasters from happening, but it does contribute positively to the larger social, economic and environmental picture. So put down the car keys and explore new ways of getting around town.