An Earth Day resolution

Earth Day was started in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) in an effort to make the environment a major policy issue for the country and to get people, companies, and policymakers to start thinking about how we treat our Earth. Due to Nelson’s efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency was born and a number of landmark policies became law such as the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

One particular area that has dramatically improved is the transportation sector, specifically buses. According to the environmental research by the American Bus Foundation (ABA) motorcoaches provided the most fuel- efficient and cleanest means of transportation compared to other means of transportation.   Additionally, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council believe motorcoaches are the “greenest’ form of transportation, surpassing air, rail, and private automobiles.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study found that transportation represented approximately 27 percent of the total US Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in 2011.   The biggest percent from GHG emissions in 2011 is from cars at 43 percent, while buses accounted for less than 1 percent.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTP) released a new study in March this year finding that 10.6 billon transit rides were taken in 2013. The 10.6 billion exceed the peak in 2008 when the country was seeing extremely high gas prices. Michael Melaniphy, president of the APTP gave the following example on how transit ridership has grown: from 1995-2013 the US population increased 20.3 percent, and miles driven rose 22.7 percent. However, transit ridership was up 37.2 percent.

Earlier this year, Eric Holthaus a meteorologist who has covered weather stories for The Wall Street Journal and Atlantic’s Quartz Magazine, made a pledge that he would work to lessen his carbon footprint, which included adjusting the way he traveled. According to his blog, he put his no-fly vow to the test for the first time and took a bus trip from Wisconsin to Atlanta for the annual American Meteorological Society’s annual conference. His reaction to the 28-hour journey was “I loved it!”

David Keestenbaum a Director of Sustainable Transportation at the University of Vermont (UVM) has a passion to work with the companies seeing the value of being green with developing programs that work toward environmental steward, reducing their overall costs, saving energy and promoting the company with the UVM “eRating” certification and driver training programs.   He has developed a certificate program and once completed the company will receive at “Green Coach Certified” ecolabels, which can be placed on qualified vehicles to show their environmental benefits.

Megabus.com is the first passenger transportation company to be recognized by UVM “eRating” and continues to be the leader in the bus industry with their best practices for environmental operations such as:  use of anti-idling techniques, when the bus is not in use, the safest and greenest ways to recycle oil and overall business practices that promote environmental protection.

Megabus.com’s fleet of 81 passenger, double decker busses receive 305 passengers-miles per gallon of fuel, Also, two double decker buses transport nearly as many passengers as three standard 54-57 passengers coaches, reducing carbon emissions and fuel usage by one engine. Additionally, our double decker busses are equipped with SmarTire to assist the driver and maintenance crew in sustaining correct tire pressure, increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions.

Clearly, Senator Nelson’s efforts worked with not only making the environment a major priority of the country, but making it one of the major factors when choosing how to travel. We can all make a difference - both as consumers and businesses. Earth Day is an ideal time for us to make a resolution to consider the choices we make and look at ways we can protect our planet for future generations.

Moser is president and  COO of Coach USA and megabus.com