• Jun 4th 2014 at 8:00AM
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Looking to line your pockets with some extra cash? Perhaps it's time to give up driving. A sobering report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) says that people using public transit in the 20 cities with the most riders save an average of $848 dollars a month, or $10,181 a year. Riders in New York see the greatest benefit, saving an average of $15,041 from January to December.

The APTA tried to determine how much a person could save by using public transit and "living with one less car."

These figures are based on the APTA's May Transit Savings Report, which tries to determine how much a person in a two-person household can save by using public transit and "living with one less car." The report calculates the cost of driving by taking into account the cost of gas, maintenance, and tires, as well as insurance, license registration, depreciation, finance charges, and parking costs. This average driver used in the calculations gets 23.1 miles per gallon over the 15,000 miles they drive in a year, pays $3.65 per gallon of fuel, and spends $166.26 per month on parking. The cost of public transportation is based on the average cost of a monthly transit pass.

Of the 20 cities included in the report, all but four (Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, and Las Vegas) showed annual savings less than $10,000, with the lowest being $9,364. See the full list, broken down by monthly and annual savings, below.

Are you not quite the "average" driver? You can find out how much you'd save in fuel by switching to public transportation using this calculator (you'll have to do the math for your other driving costs yourself).

Whether or not you'd save the amounts that APTA claims, there is the other obvious benefit to using more public transportation. Try this carbon calculator if you want to see what impact your switch to public transit would have on the environment.
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Due to Recent Spike in Gas Prices, Public Transit Riders in 16 Cities See More Than $10,000 Per Year in Savings

Parking the car and taking public transportation saves individuals $10,181 a year

Washington, D.C. This month the Transit Savings Report shows that public transit riders in 16 of the top 20 cities for public transit ridership save more than $10,000 a year and $800 a month due to the recent spike in gas prices. Four straight months of gas prices increasing has pushed the average annual savings for public transit riders to $10,181 a year according to the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) May Transit Savings Report. Individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save also save, on average, more than $848 this month.

These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle which includes the May 28, 2014 average national gas price ($3.65 per gallon- reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

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. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,995.

The top 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass. The savings also factor in local gas prices for May 28, 2014 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*
City Monthly Annual
1 New York $1,253 $15,041
2 San Francisco $1,113 $13,350
3 Boston $1,095 $13,136
4 Philadephia $1,012 $12,140
5 Chicago $1,008 $12,092
6 Seattle $998 $11,974
7 Honolulu $984 $11,813
8 Los Angeles $953 $11,440
9 San Diego $905 $10,859
10 Portland $897 $10,763
11 Minneapolis $884 $10,613
12 Baltimore $872 $10,464
13 Denver $866 $10,387
14 Washington, DC $855 $10,257
15 Cleveland $841 $10,089
16 Pittsburgh $837 $10,042
17 Atlanta $804 $9,649
18 Miami $803 $9,638
19 Dallas $790 $9,478
20 Las Vegas $780 $9,364

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 5/28/14


APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the cost of the average monthly transit pass of local public transit agencies across the country. This information is based on the annual APTA fare collection survey and is weighted based on ridership (unlinked passenger trips). The assumption is that a person making a switch to public transportation would likely purchase an unlimited pass on the local public transit agency, typically available on a monthly basis.

APTA then compares the average monthly transit fare to the average cost of driving. The cost of driving is calculated using the 2013 AAA average cost of driving formula. That formula is based on variable and fixed costs. The variable costs include the cost of gas, maintenance and tires. The fixed costs include insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges. The comparison also uses the average mileage of a mid-size auto at 23.1 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on May 28, 2014 at $3.65 per gallon. The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year. The savings is based on the assumption that a person in a two-person household lives with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States.

To calculate your individual savings, with or without car ownership, go to www.publictransportation.org.

# # #

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      You could save even more by ditching your house. And clothes. And food. Whoever writes these moronic things needs to get out into the real world.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Clothing cost absolutely nothing to own once it is purchased. Not seeing your logic.
          • 1 Year Ago
          If you follow the methodology this study used, you would have to account for depreciation and maintenance like washing your clothes.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course NYC residents save 15k with one less care. Just having a place to park your car in the city can cost $10,000 / yr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The calculator says I would save $75 a year. Wow. That much?! And only be inconvenienced by the 1 mile walk to the nearest bus stop (which should be lovely all winter) and 45 minute (including a transfer) trip time instead of the current 10 minute drive? SUBSCRIBE!!!!!
        • 1 Year Ago
        If it's a 10 minute drive, it's probably not more than a 30 minute bike ride unless you live on a highway onramp. Through town at rush hour, a bike will often be faster than a car.
          • 1 Year Ago
          "He said winter. As in snow." Meh, so those 10 days drive.
          • 1 Year Ago
          He said winter. As in snow. You want to ride a bike in the snow? I have and, no thank you.
        • 1 Year Ago
        To be convinced by your statement many would require that you explain your assumptions. Please tell us of your methods.
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you live in a commuter area like I do (Pinellas county, FL), car ownership is much cheaper. My car, in total costs me less than $2,500 per year. Demand for public transportation is so low, so the network in very underdeveloped, and using it instead of a car is just not practical. Those who cannot afford a car, I have great sympathy for, and have at times offered rides. They walk and bike a lot more than take the bus. Building a public transportation anywhere in Florida is extra difficult because going under ground with a subway is not an option. The water table is very high, and the limestone isn't very strong. Above ground, buses are slow, and they can't take you right to where you want to go. I think that for areas like mine, the best option in the future will be car sharing services that use self driving cars. They could also work with a network of self driving buses or maybe even trains.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does it take into account gangs, thefts, threats associated with mass transit ?
        • 1 Year Ago
        Never been a transit problem where I live.
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      Special interest groups will publish everything imaginable to brainwash people into believing or hating something or ethnic groups. Whether the subject is economic, politic, or ethanol, there are mercenary journalists willing to masquerade propaganda as news. Madison Avenue is a multi-billion dollar industry because stealthy propaganda works.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does this study include those that carpool? I went from driving my car 5 days a week to only 2-3 times a week. Well, technically, I drive it every day, but a lot of days, just to the park & ride lot and back home.
        • 1 Year Ago
        carpooling saves lots of gas, but if you still own a car then you still have car payments and insurance etc.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not owning a car will also be good for the waste-line also since you will be using your legs more and less sedentary in a car. I bike a lot, but I still own a car.
        • 1 Year Ago
        What's a "waste line" ? It's WAIST line. The WAIST is your midsection. WASTE = garbage. My god! Grown adults can't even spell correctly these days!
          • 1 Year Ago
          Grammar/Spelling Nazi SMASH!
          • 1 Year Ago
          Good point. I was thinking he might mean something about digestion or colorectal health. Your interpretation makes much more sense.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Getting more difficult to convince this generation to waste their time waiting in commute traffic; They seem to be into "texting while riding."
      • 1 Year Ago
      And riding your bike could save you even more. In a country where most people have little to no savings, yet drive everywhere...
      • 1 Year Ago
      My calculator: Public transit is non-existent in Michigan +there are no jobs within biking or walking distance of my home +we can't afford to move closer to my job = Owning a car is a pre-requisite for a job. + having a job = income to pay for car and bills
        Jamie Houk
        • 1 Year Ago
        Same here in Northwest Alabama. An Electric vehicle is not even an option for me nor is hydrogen or even CNG. Two to four times a week a mike an 85 mile, each way, trip that does not come close to a major suburban area So where am I supposed to find a charger? The 2/3 of the population that lives in the cities an suburbs seem to forget that t the conveniences they enjoy are not available or even options for everyone.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jamie Houk
          Alabama is also one of the last on the list to get a Tesla Supercharger Looks like this decade is not your time for EVs. Unfortunately, that is the reality. EVs cannot proliferate immediate across the country.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well I guess I won't be giving up my car any time soon, the calculator they linked to says I only spend $1134.33/yr on my commute - pretty far from the lowest being $9,364...
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