Start busing it if you hate parking so much
If you are reading this while sitting in traffic, you may have the time to read it twice. That is how long you spend in Houston’s congested highways every day when you could be doing something else.
It is no secret to Houstonians that transportation is an ongoing issue in the city. Whether you own a car or not, transportation can be a long, grueling process.
Houston has a car culture, and how affordable it is to own an automobile makes it seem like the heavy traffic makes sense.
We love our cars here. In 2010, Houston was the number one American city in car sales. We live in a city where 75 percent of us drive to work or school alone in our cars.
At UH, commuters make up 85 percent of the undergraduate student population.
As much as it is routine to criticize public transportation, the real problem lies behind our own choice to drive to school instead of using our resources.
With the particular case of UH, students don’t seem to be taking advantage of the newly-added transportation.
UH Parking and Transportation Services Director Robert Browand said the University has been trying since August to facilitate the acquisition of METRO cards for student commuters, but the numbers are still low.
“The last report I got showed a little over 1,200 boardings per month,” Browand said. “Assuming a student would come to campus an average of three times per week, that would equate to about 400 students.”
Despite UH’s efforts to bring more students on board to ride the trains and buses and diminish the issue of scarce parking on campus, commuters still opt in favor of driving instead.
“We started a new process this year where students can request their METRO cards directly from Public Transportation Services,” Browand said. “In addition, PTS has been represented at all student orientations and has participated in commuter and sustainability events to promote alternative transportation. METRO has also been on campus promoting the rail and bus service. To date, we’ve processed 679 METRO cards though the new request process.”
The questions of whether the new lines will work effectively are yet to be explored within the next years, but improvement can be made from a change in attitude.
Next time you are driving on Gulf Freeway wishing you were elsewhere, think of all the homework you could be doing while comfortably lying back and enjoying a bus or train ride.
Opinion Columnist Luiza Braga is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected]