National Dump the Pump Day may not be the most exciting marketing slogan, but it’s an effort to get commuters to think
about ways to rely less on the gas pump and car to get to work.
In Houston, that’s a big challenge.
Shelley Whitworth runs the Commute Solutions program for the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
“We don’t expect if someone commits to carpooling, vanpooling, or riding the bus, that they have to do it every day. Because we recognize that people are very mobile, they do need to run errands a lot of times, but you don’t need to do it every day. So if you could even just do it two or three times a week, not only will you be saving yourself money, a lot of frustration and also helping reduce pollution in the region.”
Whitworth says in the past, commutes were fast and predictable during the summer months, but not any more.
That may be because as Houston’s population continues to increase, so does the strain on the infrastructure.
“A lot of people are moving into the region, they haven’t really established a pattern on how they get to work. It’s kind of frustrating for them to get around. One of the things that tends to keep folks in vanpools or carpools or even riding buses, is the friends and acquaintances that they make. And if you’re new to the area, that’s a wonderful way to get to know people.”
If your initial reaction is that carpooling or taking the bus just isn’t for you, consider checking a commute cost calculator online.
Turns out for my own 18-mile round trip commute, I could save at least $500 a year by vanpooling to work.