People are buzzing about Sweden's recent transportation innovation. Released via an ad from the public transit agency Västtrafik, the clever message encourages more commuters to take the bus or train to get to work. That's right: Their big innovation is actually a return to what's familiar: The good old fashioned bus. But the agency is trying their best to make public transportation a tempting option; they're offering riders two weeks of free rides in an effort to tempt people to hang up their car keys.
Per their press release, Västtrafik hopes to gain over 5,000 new transit riders from this experiment alone. More than that, they're pretty certain these riders will stick to the buses, once they get used to their new commute.
What ignited this experiment? Like a lot of places, Sweden is known for its congested roads, especially during rush hour. Not only can traffic be exhausting and frustrating for us, but emissions from driving can have really harmful affects on the environment. As an entire country, Sweden aspires to be "climate neutral" by 2050. Getting people out of cars and onto the buses is just one part of the plan, but they're hopeful it'll catch on in a major way.
Here in the United States, we take an estimated 1.1 billion rides in our cars per day. People-especially those who live in rural or suburban areas-often use cars as part of their daily routines. For others, relying on public transit is key to get to work, run errands, and socialize. Following in Sweden's footsteps and getting more people excited about public transit gives the opportunity to majorly reduce our emissions and air pollution.
It's worth pointing out, too, that the more people who use public transit, the easier it is to advocate for longer run times, more route options, and even higher safety measures for riders.
Affordable and accessible public transportation, such as buses, can also be a lifeline for people who either do not drive, or cannot drive, due to age, illness, or financial barriers. Reliable public transit offers people autonomy, as well as helps the environment. And what could be better than that?