Video: Gas prices alter commutes

By George Lewis Correspondent
NBC News
updated 4/27/2006 9:15:37 AM ET 2006-04-27T13:15:37

As gasoline prices soar past the $3-a-gallon mark in many parts of the country, people have started having second thoughts about the way they commute.

In Salt Lake City, ridership on the city's light rail is up 50 percent over last year.

"I ride it ’cause gas costs too much, it's ridiculous," says one commuter.

And in Los Angeles, the land of the freeway, both bus and rail systems are rapidly gaining new riders. Ridership on one route — the red line — is up 17.5 percent this year. And those numbers were calculated before the price of gasoline went to $3 a gallon.

Glenn Rowe ditched his car for the 70-mile round-trip commute from Simi Valley to Burbank and now saves a couple of hundred dollars a month, taking the train and his bike.

"Since the first of the year I have filled up my gas tank once, in four and a half months," he says.

Economists say people can help make a dent in high gas prices by turning to mass transit or carpools.

"The near-term solution is to reduce demand," says Dr. Daniel Yergin, a global energy analyst for CNBC. "People changing how they drive, when they drive, who they drive with."

It's all part of avoiding the pain at the pump — a new priority for many commuters.

"This is maddening," says one commuter in Dallas. "I'm going to park it. Get on a bike or a horse or something."

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