A few years back, I wrote the following article for the Maine Employment Times Transportation alternatives are of importance to many families these days for benefits such as environmental activism and monetary savings.
A note to non Maine visitors,though the links in the article specifically apply to Mainers, at least some of the basic ideas on alternative transportation can apply to anyone in any locale.
Published in Employment Times
December 12th, 2005
Transportation Alternatives for the Daily Commute
By Michelle Giroux
Out of the various elements of employability, transportation ranks high on the list of essentials. Employers understandably expect punctuality and a limited number of call-ins form their employees. However, many workers, especially those with few resources, struggle daily to find affordable and reliable conveyance to and from their place of employment. Even members of the work force that have ready access to a vehicle and no significant financial restraints may still wish to have more control over the fluxuating automotive fuel costs and still arrive at work in a timely manner. Alternative methods of transport generally are not widely advertised, but with a little research, and a whole lot of creativity, successful transportation procedures can be a reality.
Walking and biking or any other human powered transport methods allow commuters to get to work virtually expense free and complete their exercise regime in one fell swoop instead of being reserved as a last resort. Although the practicality of auto-less travel is dependent on daylight hours, temperate weather conditions and solid back ups, it has the potential to fit into a comprehensive transportation plan.
A shared commuting situation such as carpooling can cut down on individual expenses and lengthen the life of participating automobiles by combining resources and sharing burdens such as driving and schedule planning. Probably the most common reservations to this type of option is concern over individual driver responsibilities and reliance on other drivers; concerns about scheduled driver no-shows and subsequent courses of action to follow in the case of such a scenario. Careful planning is vital for a workable carpooling venture and requires close communication between participants, such as early notification of schedule changes and emergencies to allow time for everyone to make other predetermined arrangements. Many carpooling opportunities are posted on community bulletin boards such as at places of employment, colleges and universities as well as at professional commuter service organizations.
Public transportation in Maine including bus, rail, train, and ferry, generally consists of scheduled fixed route pickup services for intercity and even interstate commerce to the general public at a nominal cost, which spare change will probably cover for a one way trip.
While the majority of Maine’s transit systems that offer extensive services in terms of hours of operation are located within the larger cities, it definitely is an option worth looking into in smaller towns as well, as fees may be even lower and can work in conjunction with other services. Taxicabs, the most common type of public transportation for vehicle-less employees proves to be expensive on a regular basis, but for those individuals seeking alternative and affordable types of transportation, taxis stand to serve as one potential backup as part of a comprehensive transport plan.
Professional agency type programs and incentives are offered to commuters in Maine who utilize alternative type transportation services.
GO MAINE Commuter Connections (www.gomaine.org) provides extensive transportation alternative links, as well as offering benefits to registered users such as a carpool match program and an emergency ride home guarantee?, which applies to carpoolers and bus riders as well as walkers and bikers.
Fuel costs continue to be an issue for traditional commuters as well as carpoolers. Gas price comparison Web sites such as MaineGasPrices.com provides current price per gallon for local gas stations throughout Maine so all motorists, including members of the work force, can be as well informed as possible and ultimately have a little more control over transportation expenses.
For further information visit the following Web sites: