Benefits of Public Transportation

by Pelin Kurt, Izmir University of Economics, October 30, 2008

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Many people around the world need to have access to public transportation and use it. Not only will public transportation help to solve the global warming crisis, but it will prevent accidents and provide economical transportation and freedom for those without cars. Transportation is a big concern for many countries, especially big cities like Istanbul and New York. Public transportation makes it easy to travel and helps decrease traffic problems. As an international student from Turkey studying in the U.S. I noticed the difference between the public transportation systems of major cities in the West and in Turkey. In Istanbul, for instance, there are bus systems, tram systems, metro, underground railways, sea buses and steamboats. In New York, there are trains, subway and buses. Generally, many people use these systems because public transportation is economical and an easy way to travel.

The most important benefit of public transportation is that it lessens environmental pollution. People who use their own cars make our air dirty. According to Larry West, "Transportation accounts for more than 30 percent of U.S. Carbon dioxide emissions. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), public transportation in the United States saves approximately 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline and about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually." The more public transportation is used, the more it can help carbon dioxide emission.

Nowadays, we encounter problems like Global Warming caused by the environmental pollution. Many countries have just started using green machine buses. These buses release less fumes and less pollution. This is very good news for our future generation and the atmosphere. Public transportation is a healthier way to save our air.

If you live in a big city, like NY, Beijing, Istanbul or Paris, you must learn to use public transportation. In Craig Stortie, The Art of Crossing Cultures, he explains that , "If you live in a large city, you may have to figure out how the subway or bus system works" (13). To tell you the truth, public transportation is faster, cheaper and safer than driving a car. For instance, Istanbul has horrible traffic especially during the morning and evening time because everyone wants to go home, to work and to school. People who don’t follow the rules of the road are not safe. Some transportation systems, like the metro, underground railways, sea buses, have their own roads. People don’t have to wait to go where they want to go. Traveling by metro or underground railways is a good way of traveling because if you drive your own car traffic becomes locked and nobody goes anywhere. People wait many hours in their cars. Istanbul’s people hate this situation. Public transportation would make riding time much shorter. The Turkish internet web site,, explains a lot of things about Istanbul’s traffic problems. The writer said that, ‘‘Istanbul’s people use 89% of land way, 7% of tram way and 3% of sea way.’’ People don’t want to use the tram and sea way because they want to use their own cars however, Istanbul has 12 million people, which causes a problem. According to the web site writer, using public transportation during ‘‘rush hour’’ is a good solution for Istanbul’s traffic problems.

During the holidays, people in Turkey want to see their families. Many people are unable to visit family members because public transportation does not go where they live. So, they must use their private cars, which causes roads to become busy and can cause many traffic accidents. According to Larry West in his article "Public Transformation," Riding a bus is 79 times safer than riding in an automobile, and riding a train or subway is even safer.’’ He argues that public transportation is safe. Many drivers do not follow the rules because they don’t want to wait and they do dangerous acts. These people’s behavior cause terrible traffic accidents which can lead to death. In Turkey, these people are given the special name: "monster of the traffic". Fear of other drivers has caused a lot of people to choose public transportation.

Five years ago, my family and I drove from Istanbul to Ankara in a terrible snow storm. All roads had lots of snow and were slippery. The car didn’t have snow tires to prevent an accident. We were frightened during this trip. Normally this trip takes five hours but because of the snow it took eleven hours. If we had taken the train or bus, we would have been much better off.

In my experience with extremely inconvenient traffic, I prefer to use public transportation. Last year before the festive holiday time, my family and I wanted to go shopping by traveling in our car. Many other people wanted to go to shopping centers as well. All the roads were full and we had to wait in their cars. Also the weather was rainy and too cold. We waited for five hours in their car when usually it only takes thirty minutes. It didn’t help that we were hungry and needed to go to the bathroom. This was a terrible day for my family. My father hated this situation. After that awful ride, I look for convenient transportation.

In New York, traffic is as horrible as Istanbul’s. The streets are always crowded with cars and taxis so most people prefer to walk. Trains are a very useful way of transportation because they can take you to cities that are far away; however, they do not take you nearby unless you take the subway. The best public transportation in New York is the subway because it can take you from one side of the city to the other and is cheap. My sister came to the U.S. when she was 16. She told me, "the subway system is very fast and many people use public system." The NY subway is a good resource for international visitors, because it is easy, cheap and fast.

The third benefit of public transportation is that it allows us to spend less money on gas. Granted, many people have cars, but they don’t have enough money to buy gas. Gas is an important and valuable natural refined source. Also, specialty gas prices are very high, especially in Turkey. If gas prices are increased, other goods and services prices will be increased too. This effect is not acceptable for all countries, particularly countries that don’t have petroleum resources. People must use public transportation! Larry West states that, ‘‘According to an APTA study, families that use public transportation can reduce their household expenses by $6,200 annually, more than the average U.S. Household spends on food every year. ’’ He explains that we can save money and save our natural resources using public transportation. Taking public transportation is cheaper than driving in both New York and Istanbul. In Istanbul students only pay 75 cents and in New York, it costs around $5.

The final wonderful thing about public transportation is that you can fall in love while using it. Many people use public transportation to go to same places and travel at the same time every day. One day, a woman named Ayla and a man named Fatih realized they saw each other every day at the same time and in the same place on the sea bus. Seas buses are relaxing people sit on the deck and look at beautiful scenery and the sea creates a romantic atmosphere. Fatih and Ayla started to talk and found out that they both traveled to work on the sea bus. They had a lot in common. They told each other about their lives, families and work. They started to like each other and they enjoyed their time together on the sea bus. Six months later, they fell in love. Finally, they got married. This is an amazing experience. They are lucky people. This could happen to anyone who uses public transportation.

Public transportation can be faster, cheaper, safer and environmentally friendlier. It can help save gas resources and also might help you meet your soul mate.

Works Cited;

• İstanbul'un trafik çilesi bitmiyor! (istanbul's traffic problem doesn’t seem to end) 22 November 2006., 8 October 2008
• West, Larry ; Public transformation: Fast Track to Fewer Emissions and Energy Independence. 2008. Environmental Issues.8 October 2008
• Sortie, Craig. The Art of Crossing Cultures. Boston: Nicolas Berkley
Publishing. 2001

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