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Students have mixed views on Erie’s mass transit option

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In an article last week The Rambler highlighted the growing traffic problems that are plaguing Erie County. While many solutions were suggested to ease the flow of traffic around the region, there is another approach that should also be included: riding mass transit.

The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) oversees all mass transit operations in Erie County. Due to its moderate population size, Erie’s only form of mass transit is the regional bus service, better known as “The e.” Though The e possesses the many perks that come with mass transit, including having a paid driver towing you around and a very reliable scheduled service to dozens of Erie area attractions, many Prep students are not very fond of the idea of utilizing The e as their choice for intracity travel.

The e provides many benefits to its passengers that an automobile cannot supply. These include regular on-time stops at dozens of local venues such as Walmart, Giant Eagle, the Intermodal Center, and Erie International Airport; a paid driver to haul the bus and yourself around like a celebrity in a limousine; a heated interior; a bus fleet mostly relying on clean burning compressed natural gas; and a bike rack provided on the front of each bus for no additional fare. When also taking into account The e’s ability to carry far more passengers than the traditional automobile, thereby reducing traffic congestion, it would seem like a no-brainer to choose The e as your first choice as a personal shuttle around town. Contrary to the popular belief, many citizens, including those at Prep, choose to commute in their comparably inefficient personal vehicles.

I personally have never used The e for my transportation needs. Due to my house’s distance from the nearest bus stop, The e has never been a logistical choice for my travel from point A to point B. However, since all peoples’ excuses are different (some more legitimate than others), I set out to try to comprehend why so many Prep students don’t consider The e to be their primary choice of transportation.

Senior Alex Gorny has similar problems with The e’s routing system “The e does not have a stop out where I live or else I would be overjoyed to ride it,” Gorny stated, expressing his disappointment over the grim reality.

Safety was a large concern for sophomore Dominic Montefiori. “Students don’t ride The e because of their safety. I mean, let’s face it, Erie isn’t the best town,” he said.

With Erie’s current crime rates and more violence occurring in the inner city, it can be hard to justify riding The e through the shady parts of town when other methods of transportation are available. “I don’t see a real need for high school students to ride the e between their parents giving them rides or finding a ride from their friends,” Montefiori stated.

For junior Bryan Carlson, the more slow and relaxed pace of The e would take a major toll on his busy social life. “I choose to not ride The e because in the go-go-go society we live in, I do not have time to wait for the bus or wait for the bus to make stops for others,” he said. “I’m constantly going place to place and I usually don’t have any extra time to spare.”

Nevertheless, some students, such as senior Mitch Clark believe that the The e is a great mode of transit for the Erie area. Clark believes that The e serves a great purpose for the social aspect of the Erie community. “The EMTA is utterly under-appreciated due to Erieites being unable to grasp its unique ability to incorporate human life and living organisms of all sorts, into one fantastic, fear-inducing vehicle,” he said. Despite his overall positive views of the bus system, Clark himself does not ride The e due to “personal reasons.”

Whether you are a fan of the bus or an automobile aficionado, there are many forms of transportation available. Though The e may not be the first choice for most, it is always there for you if you need to a quick ride to the supermarket or to work. Just load up your bike on the front rack, pay your fare, and off you are on an adventure.

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