• Mar 14, 2011
According to the American Public Transportation Association, gas prices have jumped by 28 cents per gallon in the last 10 days, bringing the national average up to a staggering $3.47/gallon. The new hike in prices means commuters can save an average of $9,904 annually – $825 per month – by switching from personal to public transportation. That figure includes the national average rate for unreserved parking.

The numbers are the highest they've been in two years, due to global unrest and continuing economic problems. Savings were highest in big cities, where public transportation is more readily available, with New York topping the list. The APTA estimates that commuters in the Big Apple could save $1,198 per month or $14,376 a year by switching to public transportation.

[Source: American Public Transportation Association]


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      • 3 Years Ago
      Can you not hide your anti-middle class sentiments any better?

      Most people out there left the city because of how expensive it is to live there. In Portland, the avg price of owning a home is 400,000 whereas just outside of that in nearby Hillsboro is somewhere around 200,000. This is the reason people leave the big city, they want to own a home, they want to have a family, and send their kids to good quality schools. They want more job opportunities like Intel, Columbia Sportswear, Nike, etc, and they want to be able to afford all of this...

      The big city does not support or promote any of these values or quality of life. The fastest track to upward mobility and a middle-class standard of living is to move to the suburbs and people have voted with their feet by doing so.
        • 3 Years Ago

        Highways pay for themselves, so I don't know how we "subsidize" it if the profits we gain from its use via taxes and fees cover the cost to operate it... The same is not true of Public Transportation which uses taxes levied on those who drive to stay in operation...

        The price for that 400k home is not only because of demand, and the limited availability of land to build new homes. It is also a reflection of any place that uses Inclusionary Housing law for the purpose of providing housing to low-income families. To build one unit for this, 4 other units on the market see their prices inflated 25% to subsidize this low-income unit. The side-affect is of obvious... you see your neighbor charging more to house people in his apartment, why not raise your rates as well... and then we have runaway inflation. It doesn't prove any case for compact, transit-friendly development. It's more so a reflection on poor public policy.

        I have nothing against renting, the market determines which one is more appropriate. In some places, renting will save you more money, and in others, a house is a better investment. I find this active info-graph a little helpful:
        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html

        So you are telling me that the Middle Class prefers transit options and a city that has great density? Funny, because all of those cities that offer that don't have a thriving middle class. The middle class know what they want better then the rich, better then Republcians or Democrats, and what they want... they vote with their feet by moving out of big cities and into suburbs.

        In the end... it doesn't matter what the middle class does. It doesn't matter that they move into suburbs where they have a better chance at upward mobility. It doesn't matter that they want better schools for their kids, or that they want more work opportunities. Because in the end, the middle class (to you) are a bunch of idiots because:

        They don't know any better, or
        They don't know what's good for them, and

        they only exist so that the wealthy can harvest them... It's okay if you have that view, so long as you admit it. Because then at least you are being honest, and admitting your belittled view of the middle class and suburbia which you won't admit are one of the same :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would love to have public transit that would work here. I looked into getting to work with it and it would take around 3 1/2 hours each way and cost over 20$. The drive with traffic is only 30 min.
      • 3 Years Ago
      New York's entire Metro Transit system provides 2.6 billion rides to passengers each year, including two-thirds of the entire nation's train rides. While I have to agree, there is some benefit to all these people leaving their personal vehicles parked at home, from matters of efficiency and reduced roadway degradation, to reduced pollution and foreign oil dependence....who is actually paying for the cheap rides? Anyone who buys gas at the pumps and pays federal fuel taxes, is helping to pay for the cheap rides.

      Same old story, follow the money. Public transportation is heavily subsidized with fuel taxes, and depending on the city, usually in a highly disproportionate amount compared to the ratio of PT riders vs. roadway users. Should riders suddenly have to start paying their own way at 100% actual cost, would they be saving nearly as much? You just know if this were true, our roads and bridges would be in better shape with all those billions of tax dollars staying put with the highway users.
        • 3 Years Ago
        And what about the subsidies to roads? Who pays for local and feeder streets? Some of it is gas taxes. Don't forget property taxes. Sales taxes. Don't forget the military which helps protect oil supplies. Don't forget the massive health costs we all bear due to emissions, such as the impact of respiratory diseases. Not to mention the 40,000 deaths annually on our roads. Those people, if alive, contribute to the engine of our economy and are now dead.

        Plus, cities such as NY could simply not exist without transit in its current form. It would be impossible for streets to handle all those riders in cars. Impossible.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Time = Money. Public transportation = waste of time.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jonnybimmer: free parking is an oxymoron. There's no such thing as free parking. Someone is paying that cost, whether it's you (through the cost of goods), your neighbors or taxpayers.
        • 3 Years Ago
        have you tried driving in LA or NY? SF? Or any urban area?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Kris, I modded you up.

        It takes me 25 minutes to drive to work, and it would take me 1h25m (according to rtd-denver.com) to take the bus. That's 2 hours round trip. Every day. At $9904 per year, and 250 working days per year, that's approximately $40 per day. That's $40 per day to spend an extra two hours with my kids. Time = Money. Public Transportation = A waste of time that I'd otherwise be spending with my kids. If public transportation were 10-20% - even 50% - slower than my individual commute, it would be worth considering. But it's over 300% slower.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree with you Kris91...in some situations.

        A city like NYC or other MAJOR cities, that have subway systems and efficient modes of mass transportation, I can see an argument.

        For me, it take 10 minutes by car, 25 minutes by bike, and 1 hour by bus due to an extremely inefficient bus system, due partially to improperly planned roads.

        I will gladly work an extra hour, and drive to work to make up for rising gas prices, instead of spending 2 hours on a bus. Please note I live in a circa 300,000 city in Canada, so biking isn't a year round solution, and my dog sled tends to be in the shop often.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Not always a waste of time -- depends on where you are coming from and going to! For me to get from downtown L.A. to Hollywood in traffic, it can take me 45 minutes to drive there and park. It only take 24 minutes on the subway.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dr. Greenthumb - tell you what, next time your in Kitchener ON, I'll take you for a bus ride to work, done it, never doing it again.

        http://www.grt.ca/web/transit.nsf/vwArticles/57BFAAD12C0940D085256C21004D2EE7/$file/K-W%202011.pdf?openelement

        Either I need to take 4 transfers, or take 2 transfers which takes me out of my way and makes me wait for the next bus to arrive which takes about 15-20 minutes alone on the wait.

        The city / province and federal government want to put a rapid transit system in, but the entire transit including drivers think putting more buses on the road will solve the problem...

        OR I can just drive a car to work every day and be hassle free.

        Like I said, it works for properly planned BIG CITIES. Otherwise you will quickly find it's a waste in North America. Do I want to see a proper transit system? HECK YES! I would love to start taking bullet trains you see in Europe and Japan, but the entire infrastructure in North America is pure garbage and inconvenient
        • 3 Years Ago
        That is a huge display of ignorance Kris.....
        • 3 Years Ago
        Try doing that in NYC.
        • 3 Years Ago
        In my particular case, my daily commute would be 2+ hours and several transitions for PT vs. 20-25 min. in my car and free parking, so it doesn't make much sense to take PT. But growing up in a certain area of SoCal where the PT network was almost non-existant makes me appreciate the Bay Area's PT (where I currently reside). Those who are so against PT systems need to live in an area like SF or NY (or experience Mammoth's free shuttle service) to understand why they are so incredibly important in some areas.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Tippyd,

        Of course, people in your position who live in SF or NYC already commute using public transport, and they had been doing so for decades. Those cities had not been desined for cars. A better question is whether, the current gas prices, would send more residents of say Houston or Indianapolis to take a bus. I have lived in San Antonio and trying to use public transport is usually such a waste of time. It usually took 80 minutes to cover a distance that can be covered by car in 20 minutes even in congested traffic. I doing think that people will immediately switch to public transport in such badly sprawled out cities. Most likely, more people will start ditch their useless trucks with sealed beds and that buying hybrid vehicles.

        • 3 Years Ago
        Kris: By far the dumbest thing anyone has said or written today.

        rudyherfurth: Gotta disagree with you on the reason for the slow as heck buses. The streets in NYC are rather neatly laid out. Don't believe me, try Philadelphia. Its as if someone dumped out a set of "pick-up-sticks" and assigned names to them. Chentelham, Germantown, and south Philly are the worst.

        Back to the buses, the problem is with the 35 year old traffic light control system, pedestrians that OWN the streets, and delivery trucks that clog the streets. I once walked from 42nd & 3rd to 42nd & 8th faster than the 42st cross town bus. That's 3rd - Lex - Park - Madison - 5th - 6th - B'way - 7th - 8th. 34th street is somewhat better, but not by much.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I live in San Francisco.

      Just parking a car in my garage at my apartment building would cost me $3000/year after taxes (that's before insurance, fuel, fees for parking at the office, street parking, parking tickets, car maintenance, repair bills from breakins, etc)

      A MUNI pass costs me $720/year before taxes.

      The $2280 that I don't spend on parking at home each year sure pays for alot of cab rides, grocery delivery charges, vacations, etc...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a nephew and a friend who live/work in Chicago. The nephew is an accountant at a law firm. He says he's way ahead by not owning a car. I tend to believe him. Ever try and park near Wrigley Field?
      • 3 Years Ago
      So far all those comments are from people who drive cars. The real question is what if the gas price past $5 per gallon? Or same like the rest of the world $7 to $9 per gallon are you guys still going to drive? With the economy still struggling to go up any of you got any promotion lately? The variable cost for the car (aka the gas) go up. Even now in NYC the cost to register a new car or get a new plate also went up. So those people who live more than 2-3 hours driving from home to work are gonna get screwed big time. MTA Bridges and Tunnels already went up several times for the past 2-3 years. Its all depend on the gas price I don't care if you live in other states small city medium size city or big city, once the gas price go more than $4-$5 MOST American going to reduce their driving personal car and start using public transport. It happened 2 years ago the number of ridership for bus and subway in New York Metro area shoot up till the MTA went bankrupt and need financial assistant from State and Federal.

      Problem with US is the car company have stronger lobby I still agree with what Jetbay said before most people own car how do they travel from home to work? walk? horse? bicycle? Nope the answer is train and boats. But look what happen to train nowadays? If you want to have a great public transportation infrastructure check out what other countries use to make it successful. Check how Singapore a small island city managed their public transport by taxing those people who drive cars. Because of those few stubborn people who willing to pay a lot of money to drive personal car Singapore could afford to maintain the best road, subway, bus and keep improving it unlike NYC mass transit. If you complain that you live very far from where you work then look at Japan they have different trains (bullet train if you live far and there are local train if you live in the city) Maybe one of the reason why Obama want to make the bullet train because he knows in the future when gas price is just too expensive for many people train will be an alternative transportation for those who live far from their work place. Hey it work in Europe and Asia why not here in US? Remember folks if you guys don't want to depend on oil that's mean gas price will be very expensive.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well said, DM. Unfortunately, those who rail against HSR fail to understand planning for the next 50-100 years. They only want to focus on the next 2 years and scoring political points while we becoming even more competitively disadvantaged. Our population will swell by another 100 million and we've got no room to build more highways. We need to build smartly and build up, and create efficient transportation solutions to support our economy and growth.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the real 'cost' of public transportation should include the taxes used to keep the buses and trains running... and the resulting inflation from deficit spending and out of control government fiscal policies.

      Just like electric and hybrid cars and the claim that they will save the planet... all the while disregarding the impact of mining, refining, manufacturing and eventual disposal of those pesky little batteries that keep the things running... the amazing benefits of public transportation are not nearly so amazing once the whole picture is studied.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Public Transportation? No Thanks.

      My daily commuter is a 150cc scooter. It costs me $230/yr (inc. insurance, reg, gas, maintenance). Compared to taking a bus $1325/yr, and that price only includes a commute to work and back. I would also waste triple the time should i choose to use a bus.

      Not to mention traffic free commute (CA lane splitting) and no money spent on parking.
      • 3 Years Ago
      That number must be straight from the Al Gore Institute for Higher Mathematics.

      I drive more than most people and live in a place with high gas prices. Right now I spend about $150 a month in gas, a far cry from the $825 claimed by people invested in mass public transportation. So in my city of Miami I spend about $1800 a year in gas or about 4 times less than this *study* claims.

      Reminds me of those *studies* by GM about how good super bright, glareful daytime running lights are.

      These people that want you to use mass transport want to separate you from one of the most freedom enhancing things ever devised: the automobile. While you drive your own car you're not subject to the schedules and routes of mass transportation. Neither are you subject to the whims of mass transport union workers, who will strike at the drop of a hat if their demands aren't met.

      Yes, gas prices are up. But if that is the cost ofa piece of freedom, it's a price I pay gladly.

      Do you still believe in global warming Virginia?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ Hector, what about your car cost per mile as well as your cost for insurance, these are considered in these factors living in south florida it doesn't make sense because we dont have the infrastructural but NYC is a different story. Same with most major cities that have a decent mass transit, Florida cant be compared to new york not even south florida.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My public transportation options are my Nike running shoes. I'll continue to cry at the gas pump, and drive like a granny.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Up here in Silicon Valley (NoCal) it takes me on average 45 min each way on commute. If I were to take the mass transit system here, my commute would rise to 2 hours each way, for a total of 20hrs a week just going to and coming home from work. I'm sorry. I'll pay an extra $500 a year to have more of my personal life for myself and my family.
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