The Bottom Line: Gas prices spur more to consider carpooling - East Valley Tribune: Business

The Bottom Line: Gas prices spur more to consider carpooling

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Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 6:36 am | Updated: 8:55 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It remains to be seen if drivers will take to Valley buses because of soaring gas prices, but more people are interested in finding carpool buddies, Valley Metro reports.

Bus ridership fell from 4.4 million boardings in June to 4 million in July, but officials expect it may grow this month and next.

"Typically in the summertime ridership does go down a little bit because people take vacations," said Susan Tierney, Valley Metro’s marketing coordinator. "In August, I think were going to see an increase because it’s a seasonal thing. When kids are back in school, that’s usually when you start to see things change."

Valley Metro’s Web site, for those interested in finding matches for carpooling, saw more than an 80 percent increase in log-ons between May and July. About 800 new sign-ups per month is normal, but the number increased to 1,500, Tierney said.

A Valley Metro study in March showed 47 percent of those polled said they were already cutting down trips, riding the bus or carpooling because of the price of the gas. Another 12 percent, or an equivalent of 300,000 commuters, said they would look at other driving options if gas were to increase to between $2.50 and $3 per gallon.

AWA TO BE LCC

It’s not as fun as LUV, it’s not as boring at AMR, and it certainly won’t be confused with anything else.

When the America West Airline’s merger with US Airways becomes official in a couple of months, the new US Airways stock symbol on the New York Stock Exchange will be LCC — or low-cost carrier.

America West said it chose LCC as "tribute to our merged company’s status as the world’s largest low-cost carrier." In a statement, the airline said the low-cost strategy has been the foundation to its recent success.

But don’t equate the symbol with cheap. Instead, think nimble and adaptable.

"In short, LCC is hip," the company said. "Some may think we should have gone the standard (boring) route of choosing a less edgy ticker symbol while others may think LCC is just goofy. But all will agree selecting something out of the ordinary is a bold statement of how the new US Airways will operate."

Southwest Airlines uses LUV for its shares, hardly a corporate symbol that signifies both its beginnings at Love Field in Dallas and the company’s well-known penchant for fun.

"The whole place was built on kind of a customer love, feel the love culture," said airline analyst Bob Mann of R.W. Mann and Co. "This is back when hot pants were the uniform of the day and Wild Turkey was the handout onboard." American Airlines symbol use to be AAL, which seems to make sense. But when parent AMR Corp. took over, the symbol changed to AMR.

A changed stock symbol is needed for the new US Airways, Mann said. "With the two trips through bankruptcy and everything else that’s gone on, the USAIR, UAIR and UAIRQ, they’ve kind of plastered the landscape with that one," he said. "That’s going to be a dead symbol for a long time."

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