Last year we definitively showed, using The Rapid’s own data, that The Rapid’s buses actually add pollution to the environment, contrary to the statements that The Rapid’s staff makes about the bus system being “green.” In the last year, the data The Rapid reports to the federal government has been updated. How much better is The Rapid doing?
It’s actually doing worse. In 2010 (the latest year for which the data is available), The Rapid used 1,123,100 gallons of diesel fuel and 11,300 gallons of regular fuel to provide 32,481,817 passenger miles of bus service. The Rapid’s vehicles traveled 4,647,290 miles to provide this service. Using these numbers, we can come to several conclusions:
- The Rapid’s buses get, on average, about 4.10 miles to the gallon. In the previous year, this was about 4.17 miles per gallon. The Rapid’s buses are getting less fuel efficient.
- The Rapid emitted 0.774 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per passenger mile. In the previous year, this was 0.762 pounds of CO2 per passenger mile.
In other words, The Rapid’s pollution record is getting worse. The average SUV emits 0.66 pounds of CO2 per passenger mile and the average car emits 0.56 pounds of CO2 per passenger mile.
This doesn’t sound like a big difference, but when added up, this means that The Rapid emitted 25,423,731 pounds of CO2 that year to provide its service. If all of those passengers had been transported in SUVs, then 21,437,999 pounds of CO2 would have been emitted. This means that The Rapid’s buses actually added 3,985,732 pounds (that’s nearly four million pounds) of CO2 to the environment. If every bus passenger had been transported in a car, over seven million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution would have been reduced.
How can this be? We’ve demonstrated (again using The Rapid’s own data) that The Rapid’s buses operate, on average, 89% empty. Because of this drastic under-utilization of its buses, The Rapid wastes a whole lot of fuel driving around very large, mostly-empty buses.