Save some money and avoid the morning smell of diesel and arduous traffic. Instead, sit back and multi-task or relax on the way to work. If this sounds appealing, choose public transit. According to the American Public Transportation Association’s October Transit Savings Report, last month’s average annual savings for public transit riders in the 20 metro areas with the largest transit ridership was $9,811. The amount that a person who rides public transportation instead of driving a car will be save is now ~$818 per month — on average. As an international nonprofit, APTA considers bus, para-transit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail when coming to these conclusions.
These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of driving and owning a car. The calculations consider the October 23, 2014 average national gas price ($3.08 per gallon reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers. If you are a two-person household, save and live with one fewer car — take public transit. Living with one fewer car, you will have more money for other pursuits, vacations, or necessities that are on the back burner.
APTA reports: “The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $166.26, according to the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study, which is the most recent report available. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,995.”
From the APTA report, as follows are the top 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership. They are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass.
For more detailed information on these savings and assumptions used, check out the American Public Transportation Association report / press release. You can also calculate your personal savings, with or without car ownership, at www.publictransportation.org.
Gas prices are a deterrent to driving; however, it is not the only one or the main one. As CleanTechnica.com reported previously, “2013 was the eighth year in a row Americans took more than 10 billion trips on public transportation nationwide, narrowly edging out the 10.5 billion public transit trips taken in 2012 and the 10.4 billion public transit trips taken in 2011.” Even when gas prices fell, ridership improved.
Many of us are not attached to our cars at all. However, we need adequate replacements for transportation. The trend is to move near public transportation if possible. However, the US is slim on this option in too many places. If only we would catch up to the wide availability seen in Europe. Many of us will let go of our cars immediately if and when this happens. Peter Varga, APTA’s Chair, explains: “Americans in growing numbers want to have more public transit services in their communities. Public transportation systems nationwide – in small, medium, and large communities – saw ridership increases and some reported all-time high ridership numbers.”
Roy Hayes notes: “North American cities are primarily designed for automotive traffic. There has been more attention to bicycles, buses, and trains, but most people still look upon them as a poor person’s transportation. Traveling in Germany I found a different model: how public transit should work!” Maybe we’ll get there one day…
Image Credit: train Wi-Fi user via Shutterstock
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