Promoting public transportation makes sense
by Bailey Richards
The annual Dump the Pump day was on June 21 to promote people taking public transportation rather than driving personal vehicles and using excess gas. While some people surely celebrated it symbolically, much the like Tom’s A Day Without Shoes, which asks people to go one day without wearing shoes to bring awareness to people not having shoes in third world countries. They are both largely meaningless days. These gestures of riding public transportation or not wearing shoes are not only in some cases dangerous, but in others physically impossible.
While it is never permissible anywhere that children have to live without shoes, the odds of stepping on a rusty nail, hypodermic needle, or broken glass in the middle of the African plains is pretty slim. However, the odds are greatly increased if you are walking around a city or even a college campus. And unless you shipped those shoes you did not wear to an impoverished child, then choosing to risk the health of your feet for a day didn’t help anyone.
This same scenario is true of the national Dump the Pump Day. While the idea of choosing not to use a personal vehicle or gas for an entire day isn’t a bad one, it is, however, impossible for most people across the country. Dump the Pump promotes the use of public transportation. For those limited few that have access to public transportation this day should mean nothing. They should be using it regularly to save both money and gas, not to mention their own sanity by having to drive in metropolitan areas. If they chose not to then one symbolic day won’t change their minds.
If instead of simply showing your support externally by walking around without shoes one day, you sent just one pair of affordable shoes to a needy child, then you could actually do some good. Tom’s donates a pair of shoes to a child for every pair purchased however these can range in price all the way up to $90. For your $90 purchase a child can receive one pair on inexpensive shoes and you can receive one more pair of unnecessary shoes. Or with $90 you can buy three or four pairs of shoes and send them to several children.
In Hazard there are only trollies offered on an extremely limited basis. Very few people live within the service area and no set schedules are made for people to use them regularly for transportation. Using public transportation is not an option here or in most rural areas.
If this initiative, Dump the Pump, actually seeks to find a solution to a problem then they are looking in the wrong direction. Promoting expanding public transportation is a much better use of the day than trying to convince people they currently have the option of public transportation to use it.
With so many people in the Hazard area having to call cabs just to get to the doctor or the grocery and be willing to pay cab fees, it could be for the best of both the city and the residents to offer public transportation for a low cost. Offering just one bus or large van that makes a loop around Airport Gardens, Combs, Hazard, Lothair, Christopher, Wabaco and Walkertown to Walmart, Food City, and the hospitals for around a dollar a ride could generate revenue and save residents hundreds each year.
Focusing on areas that currently do not have the access to public transportation would have a much greater impact on the residents and economy than convincing the lazy to use what they already have. Use the funds gained to promote Dump the Pump to help communities buy busses and vans to get the programs started.
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