The bi-state area has a nice mass transportation system in place. Although it is not as extensive as cities like Chicago or New York it is more than functional and provides service to many locations on both sides of the Mississippi River. By using this service you can reduce your own carbon footprint and still reach your destinations.
Metro (the organizations name) covers the area inside of Interstate 270 on the Missouri side very well. The Illinois side of the river is served on a smaller but still significantly useful scale. There are several bus routes that extend further into St. Louis County serving major commercial and industrial areas. Most of the routes stop at major shopping centers and hospitals. The system maps are a great help when you are trying to plan a route.
Students are particularly well served by the bus routes and Metrolink light rail. A student at Washington University, St. Louis University and the University of Missouri at St. Louis are all within walking distance of a light rail stop. The UMSL stations actually serve both ends of the campus. Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville Illinois, also has a Metrolink stop right on the campus. Many other universities such as Harris-Stowe, Webster University, Fontbonne and the St. Louis Community College locations are served by bus routes that either leave from a Metrolink station or can be accessed on the bus routes staged stops.
There are several advantages for students. It frees the students from purchasing gas and also eliminates green house gasses by the removal of one vehicle from the road. The majority of the routes that access the schools all run on a twice hourly schedule. That is there is usually a bus every thirty minutes. Many of these routes have busses or trains running up until midnight and start around 5:00 A.M.
Many of the schools will provide passes at reduced or no charge to the students. If a student lives 10 miles from the school and drives to the campus five days a week the savings will add up over the semester. In a 16 week semester this is 1,600 miles travelled. Generally speaking most vehicles average about 20 miles to the gallon so you are looking at 80 gallons of gas per semester. The savings on the cost of gas is around $250 to $300 per semester. The advantage to the passes is that they can be used at any time on any route in the system during the allotted time period. Metro also offers a student pass at a significant discount if the school does not provide them.
Using the Metro system also allows students a chance to catch up on reading or homework. If you have a 20 minutes transit commute this allows you 20 free minutes to study or prepare for a test. Even instructors can use these commutes to grade papers or prepare for their class.
Metro also serves numerous attractions. Busch Stadium, Scottrade Center, Edwards Jones Dome, The Missouri Historical Society and the St. Louis Zoo can all be accessed through Metro. Events held at these areas require paying for a parking spot. The prices vary greatly, but you can generally count on spending around $10 for a parking slot. By using Metro you also save the aggravation of trying to drive through heavy traffic.
In conclusion, with a little research and examining your route you can reduce your environmental impact. In the long-run you can save money by reducing your gas usage and can even reduce your insurance rates by cutting your driving down significantly. The wear and tear on your vehicle will also be significantly reduced helping the resale cost of the car.