By Dan Rodriguez
The New Jersey Bus Association, of which I am president, supports efforts to make our streets and roadways safer and most importantly efficient. We strongly support Rapid Bus lanes as a way to decrease congestion and carbon emissions and to increase efficiencies.
We take pride in providing affordable transportation to millions of New Jerseyans every year. Every year, we bring millions to their jobs and back home as well as to sporting and entertainment events every day.
During the pandemic, we provided first-responders and essential workers transportation to their jobs, thus assuring that the larger public benefited from their services.
We do all this by taking tens of thousands of cars off the roads that would otherwise create congestion and contribute to higher carbon emissions.
We offer an immediate solution to this problem. Public transportation, of which we are part, reduces CO2 emissions by 37 million metric tons annually, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
To put this in perspective, some 4,800 pounds of CO2 emissions is saved annually by a solo-commuter who switches from taking a private car to a bus. Moreover, commuting takes times and attention for the person driving, while bus riders are able to rest, sleep, work, eat or relax in comfort and safety. Driven by a well-trained driver whose No. 1 priority is the safety of each passenger.
Rapid Bus lanes that exist in other parts of the world have been shown to be an effective way to increase mass-transit utilization and lessen the impact on highways and roadways, which in turn saves tax dollars on roadway repairs. Nor do they necessitate expansion; they can be added to existing infrastructure. In Brazil, where World Cup and Olympic events were held, commute times were cut by 50 percent and ridership increased by 2 million on a daily basis.
According to the 2022 Inrix global traffic scorecard, the New Jersey-New York region ranked fifth worst of 25 regions around the world. It found that Jersey drivers wasted the equivalent of three work weeks annually sitting in traffic in 2021 and 2022.
Further, Rapid Bus lanes are far more economical and put less of a strain on taxpayers than other transit options such as light rail. We believe greater deliberation should be given to this option as we move to moving millions in the coming years for events such as the World Cup.
We would like to urge that consideration be given to Rapid Bus lanes that will allow bus operators the opportunity to increase efficiencies. Saving millions of driving hours for both passengers and businesses that add to the productivity of and is in itself an economic benefit to New Jersey and the region.
Dan Rodriguez is president of the New Jersey Bus Association and vice president of public affairs for Coach USA.
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