It has become old news -- gas prices are edging closer to $4 a gallon, showing no signs of stopping or even slowing. As people across the country throw up their hands, looking for other options, an inevitable question is raised -- what about public transportation?
Is it practical, convenient, clean? Is it safe, manageable - is it a cure?
There is an easy way to answer these questions: get on the bus. So, I did.
Hitching a ride
A few things became apparent after speaking to people waiting at the transfer terminal in downtown Syracuse - people who depend on the bus are generally not people who have other means of transportation.
Eric W., a Marcellus resident who relocated from Binghamton two months ago, relies on the bus to get to work at Carousel Center. He says the drivers are friendly enough - he has become friends with many of them as a result of so frequently - and it gets him where he needs to go; still, he cannot wait to buy a car.
He and his girlfriend, Ashley H., agree that having a car will be a big cost for them, but it will be worth it.
"I don't consider waiting downtown for an hour a convenience," Eric said of the Centro system.
He is not alone - the biggest problems with the Syracuse bus system are the gaps in scheduling, agreed many riders waiting downtown.
Calvin Cambridge, who moved to Syracuse four years ago from Richmond, Virginia, says after four years, a car is a necessity.
"I'm getting too old to be catching the bus," said the 20-year-old student. Cambridge said the worst part about riding the bus is being forced to ride with people you do not know.
Eric Deep, from the North Side, has a similar distaste for the bus - he heard public transit is a great way to pick up countless germs.