Buses see more passengers as gas prices soar

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE (WEAU) With gas costing more than $4 a gallon. The Eau Claire Transit Department says more people are jumping on the bus.

“A lot has to do with fuel prices. We saw a 15% increase in January, a 10% increase in February and around an 8% increase in March,” said Mike Branco, the director of the Eau Claire Transit System.

Branco told WEAU 13 News on Tuesday that the ECT is offering new deals to attract drivers feeling the pain at the pump and college students.

“I for one am not driving right now because of gas prices. I know a lot of people who do take the bus and it’s actually helped them a lot with money and stuff,” said Nicole Dean, a local college student.

Janet Vellieux said she takes an ECT bus to save her family gas money and so her husband can drive to work.

“Much more often we take the bus and live on the food pantry instead of buying groceries. It takes my husband a whole paycheck to go to work, back and forth,” Vellieux said.

As gas prices increase, the ECT predicts 2011 will be a record year with more than one million riders.

If you’re interested in catching the bus in your neighborhood, click on the link below.


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  • by Anonymous Location: Chippewa Falls on Apr 27, 2011 at 04:41 AM
    I think it's great that more people are using public transportation, it helps so many different areas in so many different ways, but the fact that the woman in the story works, as does her husband, and they have 3 paychecks left after he pays for his transportation, yet they eat soley through the food pantry doesn't quite sit well with me. We keep hearing how the food pantries are so stretched and don't have the shelves as full because donations have dropped, and this family refuses to buy any of their own groceries? What about the people that can't find a job, are losing their home, are disabled, etc? It rankles me that they may get less or go without completely because families like the one in the story, that could likely at least afford SOME of their own groceries, refuse to do so.
    • reply
      by AC on Apr 27, 2011 at 06:33 AM in reply to Anonymous
      It said that they do it much more often...not all the time.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2011 at 02:23 PM in reply to AC
        It's hard to tell if that phrasing applied to both the fact that they now take the bus AND use the food pantry, or, much more often they take the bus, and rely on the food pantry for groceries. Either way, this family still has 3 paychecks to live off of,and there are people in more dire situations that may be going without because people that don't HAVE to have food from the food pantry go there. I am the only employed person in my household, my husband was laid off permanantly from a foreman position over a year ago. He has chosen to not collect unemployment after the first 6 months, and has just now been hired, for a federal job, no less. We have 4 children, we've not gone the food pantry ONCE, nor do we collect any forms of assistance from the state, and by none, I mean none. No badgercare, no daycare, no food stamps, no heating assistance, nada. We own our home, are current on our mortgage and our bills. You CAN do it if you're employed. It's called getting back to the basics, we are just lucky enough to still be able to budget in two cellphones and cable. Some people are too quick to live off the dole just because they think they qualify, but that doesn't make it right.
  • by MW Location: ec on Apr 26, 2011 at 06:43 PM
    I think this is wonderful ! We should all use public transportation.
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