The Everett Herald is running a piece on rising gas prices and how they will affect people’s spending habits.
A recent survey done for by The Nielsen Co. found 70 percent of U.S. consumers are combining around-town driving for errands and shopping, while 39 percent said they’re just staying home more often. An estimated 65 percent of American car owners said they will “dramatically change” their driving behavior if gas hits $4 a gallon, according to a study for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.
It does look like people who drive huge amounts will be forced to cut back as fuel prices rise. At very least, many will be forced to trade down to smaller cars. For others, though, not driving is easier, and obviously, transit plays an important role.
Jerome Don Marable of Marysville said he’s even thinking twice about riding his fuel-efficient motorcycle these days.
“I already ride transit, been doing it for close to 20 years now. So that won’t change,” he said. “I don’t drive that much to begin with, now that the kids have left the house.”
Others also said they are riding the bus or Sounder’s commuter train more these days. Community Transit’s ridership numbers show they’re not alone, said spokesman Tom Pearce.
“They’re very strong. We’re continuing to see growth,” said Pearce, adding that ridership grew 7 percent in 2007, compared to 2006. In January, ridership was up another 8 percent compared to a year ago.
Three of the transit service’s five top months in terms of all-time ridership have come since last fall. That includes last October, which saw an all-time high of 968,654 passengers riding buses.
The article is followed by interviews with readers in Snohomish who describe how their patterns will change.