Spike in gas prices highlights issues in the public transportation system

The economic setback affecting the country the last few months has reached the transportation system. As gas prices have increased, taxpayers have flocked to public transit.

With every major economic crisis, there’s a natural increase in public transport usage. In 2010, just two years after the great financial crisis, the people who chose to commute in public transport decided to do so mainly on buses and subways, neglecting other alternatives.

The same occurred during the pandemic two years ago, although gas prices were considerably lower and many people opted out of public transportation due to health concerns. Still a high percentage of public transit users preferred to pay for these services rather than try free transportation such as trollies.

Part of the public concern during this period came due to cost-cutting. For example, public transport services across the country dialed back spending on their services. So faulty equipment and damaged stops were neither replaced nor repaired.

However, there’s a reason why often people steer clear of free trolley systems and instead decide to pay for public transportation, and it all boils down to waiting time and comfort. For example, trolley services in Miami are often criticized by users for their rigid seats and noisy engines.

This doesn’t mean that other alternatives are the best option, in fact, waiting times in Miami are among the highest in the major cities of the world. Madrid, Munich, and Montreal stand out as being among the cities with less waiting time for public transit. At the same time, Miami, New York, and Washington D.C emerge as being the cities with the most waiting time for users.

On the other hand, the United States major concern regarding transportation is highlighted in the latest oil and gas prices, the abrupt reinstallation of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The geopolitical conflict between Ukraine and Russia has put the American economy in a chokehold. The result of these conflicts is reflected in national gas prices. More specifically, states such as Florida and California have been the most affected by the transnational conflicts.

Experts argue that inflation will start to ease at the beginning of next year, stating that the American economy has been teetering in the past two years due to the pandemic.

And until gas and oil prices stabilize, taxpayers cannot expect much improvement in public transport. Last month President Biden said: “A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to (Russian president VladmimiPutin’s aggressive actions.”

Humberto is a junior at Florida International University. He reports on issues around politics in South Florida and Latin-America.