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Denver Battles Fuel Prices with New Mass Transit Plan

In response to soaring fuel costs, Denver city planners are taking steps toward expanding the city's public transportation system.

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  • TRICIA STEVENS:

    I'm filling up a tank every two weeks now instead of every week. It's $48 bucks to fill it up. So $48 every two weeks as opposed to $48 every week, that adds up.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Carolyn Hammock and her husband have also made the switch, from driving two separate cars from their suburban home 20 miles south of Denver to taking light rail for both work and pleasure.

  • CAROLYN HAMMACK, commuter:

    One of the other areas where we have really changed is commuting downtown for sporting events. It's not even a thought that we would take our own car anymore; we always use the light rail for recreational purposes.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Ridership of Denver's mass transit system is up 9 percent this year, and it's a trend that's happening in nearly every city across the country as prices at the gas pump have soared.

    In Boston, subway ridership is up 9 percent; in Baltimore, light rail is up 17 percent; in San Antonio, bus ridership is up 11 percent; and in Seattle, the number of commuter rail passengers is up 28 percent.

    Transportation expert Andrew Goetz.

    ANDREW GOETZ, University of Denver: Well, we're seeing changes. People are deciding to switch to other modes, to use transit more often, to bicycle, to walk, cut down on trips, more carpooling. It's a real fundamental behavioral change that we're beginning to see because of these higher oil prices.

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