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.

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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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