EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 30, 2012

Rockingham Co. commuters more apt to drive alone

More commuters hit the road alone

(Continued)

“That is a staggering statistic,” Richard Ringwald said of the driving alone figure.

He was at the North Londonderry bus stop shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, where wife Heather takes the bus to Brookline.

“I don’t know why more people don’t use mass transportation,” Ringwald said.

Ringwald lives in Manchester, a recent transplant from Chicago. Mass transit is popular in Chicago and Ringwald is convinced it makes more sense.

“It is easier to let someone else do the driving,” Ringwald said. “I think a lot of this has to do with people liking their own space.”

Workers commuting alone last week blamed schedules, work duties and personal demands.

“I’ve got two fulltime jobs. I can’t have anyone drive with me. I start at 5 a.m. and finish at 1 a.m.,” Gene Fauteaux of Derry said, while pumping gas on Route 28.

Fauteux supposes he could use mass transit, if there was a system that accommodated his schedule. But there isn’t.

“My hours are crazy,” he said.

William Hunt of Derry said his company, Stonyfield Farm, the Londonderry based yogurt producer, encourages and offers incentives for car pooling, but his family is unable to take advantage.

Wife Stacey works at Elliot Hospital in Manchester and he was dropping son Ryan at school.

“It’s hard,” Hunt said of coordinating the family’s schedules.

Still, some think drivers go it alone because, well, they always have.

“I think it’s habit. People have to have their car,” cle

rk Victoria Stoessel said outside the Londonderry convenience store where she works. “I just started car pooling.”

She said she does it to save money and when she can coordinate schedules with her fellow travelers.

Stoessel sees the commuting public up close and says there is a good reason some drive by themselves.

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