Mass transit money

Published on February 2nd, 2016 | by Kyle Park Points


Public Transportation Saves You Money

February 2nd, 2016 by  

With the new year of 2016 well underway, how well have you kept your new year’s resolution? Whether it be to lose a few pounds, save a few dollars or do your part creating a better future, public transportation is a great way to knock out all three. It’s easy to understand why billions of people choose to ride public transportation each year — easier access to jobs, environmental responsibility, as a part of a healthier lifestyle, and, of course, to save money.

Public transportation saves

Moola/dough/cash rules everything around me — to the fiscally responsible citizen, public transportation is a key element in maintaining a full wallet. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently released its January Transit Savings Report, showing an average of $9,162 saved annually by a person who switches from private to public transportation on their daily commute. This breaks down to $764 a month for the frugal fellow.

The savings are based on the average cost of owning, parking and operating a car with the most recent national average cost of gasoline — $1.88 per gallon according to AAA — versus the cost of commuting via public transportation. Though gas prices continue to drop, it is still an undisputed savings.

According to the report, public commuters who save the most money monthly live in New York City ($1,169), San Francisco ($1,042), Boston ($1,011), Philadelphia ($933), and Seattle ($927).

Train at night

APTA calculates the price of public transit by determining the average price for a monthly pass for transit agencies across the country. The price of commuting privately is calculated using the AAA 2015 average cost of driving formula and data from the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Based on variable (the cost of gas, maintenance and tires) and fixed (insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges) costs, the formula uses the average gas mileage at 23.1 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on January 19, 2016, at $1.88. Assuming that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year and that a person in a two-person household lives with one less car, the costs are then compared.

You too can calculate your individual savings by going to Here are the results for 20 US cities.

   City  Monthly  Annual
1 New York  $1,169 $14,023
2 San Francisco  $1,042 $12,501
3 Boston  $1,011 $12,137
4 Philadelphia  $933 $11,199
5 Seattle  $927 $11,124
6 Chicago  $913 $10,950
7 Los Angeles  $898 $10,772
8 Honolulu  $894 $10,723
9 San Diego  $850 $10,198
10 Portland  $818 $9,817
11 Minneapolis $799 $9,588
12 Baltimore $788 $9,452
13 Denver $787 $9,440
14 Washington, DC $768 $9,213
15 Pittsburgh $754 $9,043
16 Cleveland $737 $8,849
17 Miami $725 $8,697
18 Las Vegas $722 $8,670
19 Atlanta $715 $8,585
20 Dallas $704 $8,453

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About the Author

is a working father in New York City by way of Sarasota, Florida. He is a public transportation enthusiast, clean air advocate, lifetime recycler and frequent panderer. He also reluctantly tended to his family's compost heap for many formative years. He hopes to one day leave his daughter with a safer, healthier environment than when she was born - which shouldn't be hard since she was born in Queens, New York.

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