Reasons to Ride MAX Transit

If we all used public transit, it would be good for everybody. Where public transportation goes, community grows.

Two important trends that will increase the demand on public transit is the growing older adult population who will have a need for alternative transportation, and the desire by younger “Millennials” to reside in walkable urban communities close to bus routes. MAX plans to meet these growing needs through service improvements and expansion as funding is available.

Beyond the obvious benefit of getting people where they want and need to go, public transportation provides communities with a plethora of social, economic and environmental benefits. Here’s the Top 10 Reasons to Ride MAX Transit (and all public transit):

Public transportation is an essential part of a community’s infrastructure, providing the means and freedom of travel and independence for many of local residents. MAX is one of 117 public transit providers across Michigan that collectively provides over 110 million rides annually. Each year, MAX provided almost 500,000 rides to area residents.
Public transit allows people to remain mobile, engaged and connected. It provides access to jobs, medical visits, shopping, and educational and social opportunities for those who cannot drive, choose not to, or cannot afford the costs of a personal vehicle.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of public transportation is economic development. It provides people with access to jobs and training so they can contribute to our economy. Numerous studies confirm that up to 50 percent of all daily trips on transit are for travel to and from work. People are riding the bus to either to spend money or to make money – and that’s great for our economy.

Investing in local transit also creates direct and indirect economic benefits. In Michigan, public transportation creates and sustains nearly 6,000 direct jobs for workers employed by transit providers, and thousands more through those who work to supply our state’s transit industry. This creates induced spending from the circulation of those same dollars within our community to support other jobs and related spending. In rural areas, studies have shown that the economic benefits of transit exceed costs by a three-to-one margin, while metropolitan areas have demonstrated a $6 return for every transit dollar invested.

State investments in public transportation allow transit agencies to qualify for additional federal funding. The more Michigan invests in transit, the more federal dollars Michigan’s transit fleets and infrastructure can secure for capital and operational improvements. Failure to provide adequate state funding results in a significant loss of federal capital funding needed to support public transportation.
Our state’s popular “Pure Michigan” campaign attracts visitors and tourists to our state, generating more than $17 billion in revenue. Once they get here, public transit keeps them connected and engaged with area festivals, attractions and events. Moving masses of people is what public transit does best.

According to the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan, one primary objectives of the Pure Michigan program is to “support the improvement and increased awareness of the quality, connectivity and diversity of tourist transportation options into and throughout the state.” This is done through transportation improvements that enhance the visitor’s experience, such as road repairs, mass transit, shuttles and regional airports.

According to the National Safety Council, using public transit is safer than a car. In fact, riding the bus is 170 times safer than travelling in a car!
If one bus can move 24 or more passengers, that’s 20 fewer vehicles on the road. Most trips are made in single occupant vehicles. Fewer cars on the road mean less traffic, congestion and frustration. Besides, riding the bus is more relaxing and gives you time to do other things, like check on voice mails and emails, read the newspaper, and do work or homework. It’s productive time.
Transportation is the second largest expense in most households, and the average cost of owning and operating a vehicle is about $8,000 per year. When adding in the cost of city parking, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save more than $10,000 per year, according to a study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). People can reduce their household budget by giving up one family car and instead using transit. It can save you thousands of dollars in transportation costs annually.

In fact, nearly 6 percent of Holland area residents use MAX, which is nearly double the national average use rate for transit systems and community’s of this size. (Source: MP2 Planning Consultants, 2011)

While Michiganders have a strong affection for their cars, more residents strive to be good stewards of the environment. Using public transit — even occasionally — reduces harmful emissions. Public transportation preserves air quality.

Mass transit produces 95 percent less carbon monoxide (CO) per passenger than private vehicles, and nearly 50 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). A single person commuting alone for a 20-mile round-trip can reduce his/her annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year by choosing to use public transportation. This is equal to a ten percent reduction in all greenhouse gasses produced by a typical two-adult, two-car household.

By eliminating one car and taking public transportation instead of driving, a savings of up to 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions can be realized. Using public transit also saves almost 4 million gallons of fuel per day, making us less dependent on foreign oil.

To encourage the use of public transit, MAX offers free fixed route rides on designated Clean Air Action Days and Earth Day, as well as the four scheduled election days in Michigan. So you can help clear the air and exercise your right to vote by riding MAX.

Michigan’s transit systems routinely partner with industry suppliers, research institutions and trade associations to reduce costs, improve services and support the design, development and testing of new technology to operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and improve passenger services.

The investment in new technology that supports public transit expands the market for Michigan-based products and services, and supports the growth of new jobs in our state. Just some of the new technologies being used by transit systems include mobile data systems with Automated Vehicle Location (AVL), real-time performance tracking, and rider tool applications and convenient web interfaces.