September 16, 2005

SANDAG Offers Alternative to High Gas Prices

Gas prices in the San Diego region have shot past the $3 per gallon mark to unheard of levels, leaving many drivers scrambling to cover the unexpected drain on their wallets. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) would like to remind commuters that there are several alternatives that may help to alleviate this crisis at the pump.

SANDAG’s RideLink program is a key player in the fight to keep the cost of commuting down. RideLink offers FREE services to commuters who would like to “survive the drive,” and find alternatives to driving alone. Services include:

• Carpool matching services (for work and school);

• Regional vanpool program;

• Guaranteed Ride Home program;

• Bike to Work information;

• Bike locker rentals throughout the county;

• Transit information;

• Teleworking information for employers; and

• Customized commuting programs for employers

At the current gas price of $3.06 for a gallon of regular unleaded, the average commuter will pay over $43 to fill up a 14-gallon tank. With an average of 20 miles to the gallon on a 40 mile roundtrip commute, each commuter would be paying over $6 a day to drive only to and from work.

The same commuter can share the ride with one other person and cut that cost to a little over $3 a day. Additionally, the hassle and stress of driving in traffic every day is shared and therefore reduced. If they were to use public transit and purchase an $84 monthly transit pass (which includes the Premium Express Commuter Bus routes along I-15), they could ride for a little over $4 a day – and never have to drive.

“By sharing the drive to work, commuters can outsmart gas prices,” said Gary Gallegos, executive director of SANDAG. “When San Diegans share the financial responsibility of driving and alleviate the stress of sitting in traffic, the San Diego region can win the battle in the gas price wars.”

By limiting the usage of their vehicles, commuters can stave off the possibility of gas shortages that were seen in the 1970s and early 1980s. Without self regulation, commuters could see long lines at the pump and controls put into place much like those during the 1970s Oil Embargo. Ridesharing is the answer to the skyrocketing cost of driving.

Information on RideLink’s host of services is available online at www.RideLink.org. An online application for a RideMatch list (a list of others who live and work where you do and are also interested in sharing the drive) is available to get you started immediately. Your list will be e-mailed or sent to your address within 24-hours of processing.

RideLink representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to answer questions on how to set up carpools, vanpools, use the Premium Express Commuter Bus, enroll in the Guaranteed Ride Home program, and to answer other commuter services questions. To reach a Ride-Link representative, call 1-800-COMMUTE, option 3. 

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