Originally published on Bikocity.
Apparently, people love their cars. And people love driving. Who knew? When surveyed, most commuters – even when offered the same tax benefits at $225 a month – would not trade in their car for public transit. Congress recently decided to give commuters the same paybacks whether saving money while using public transit or driving, and it seemed to have little effect, as drivers continue to receive free parking privileges. Take those away and they might change their tune.
TransitCenter conducted a study in five major U.S. metropolitan areas regarding travel choices in response to such benefits. Washington (D.C.), Miami (Florida), New York (New York), San Francisco (California), and Seattle (Washington) were chosen, and their commuters’ choices analyzed. The data did not favor public transit in any measurable way.
In 2014, when driving saw a bigger benefit than public transit ($255 to $130), driving saw a rise in numbers. In 2016, when both choices see the same benefit at $255, driving is still projected to and seeing a rise. In fact, the only situation where driving sees a decrease while public transit rises is if the benefits remained equal and driver’s parking privileges were eliminated. Basically, offering incentives to take public transit just is not enough.