When you left your house today, you probably went through your daily routine without any qualms. You packed up your stuff and ate your breakfast. Since it’s cold outside, you turned on your car for about 20 minutes before leaving. Just as you were heading off, you waved to your neighbor, who was also getting into his car to drive alone. Seems to be a pretty simple and effective morning routine, right?
Well, your simple and effective morning routine is more sinister than you might be aware. The 20 minutes that you left your car running before driving were 20 minutes of over 40 hazardous air pollutants’ release into the atmosphere. For every gallon of gas you burn, you produce 17 pounds of carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change. Only two minutes of idling uses as much fuel as travelling one mile. Furthermore, Massachusetts General Law (MGL) prohibits idling for more than five minutes, slamming offenders with a $100 penalty for a first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense.
Luckily, there’s a simple way you can salvage your conscience and reduce your impact. You might remember it from middle school. It’s called riding the bus.
Beginning in October 2013, the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) Route 8 bus has served Wellesley with a 14-location service throughout the day. Its stops include both commercial locations, such as Fells Market and the Natick Mall, and residential ones, like Barton Road and Manor Avenue.
Riding the bus reduces the harm done to the environment by the daily commute by consolidating up to 18 people who would otherwise ride in individual cars into one bus. The corresponding reduction of emissions and idling is irrefutable.
The numbers do the talking. The systems are already in place for residents to take advantage of, granting them the opportunity to be sustainable in their day to day transportation practices. All that remains is their will to do so.