I can save $323!

The American Public Transportation Association has developed an easier-to-use online tool for calculating what you save by taking public transportation vs. driving your own car. The tool is pretty useful and realistic in that it doesn’t assume you’re going to sell your car and save the costs of a car payment and insurance, too.

Capital Metro has promoted a very comprehensive commute cost calculator on our Web site. It calculates what your commute actually costs annually, taking into consideration things like car maintenance, depreciation, car payments and insurance. It’s pretty impressive.

The problem is that I have no intention of giving up my car altogether any time soon. It’s true that I’m making a lifestyle change to incorporate public transportation into my daily routine whenever possible, but the transformation is slow. Baby steps. Making the leap to NO car is more than my feeble mind is ready and willing to embrace yet.

Anyway, if you are like me and use mass transit but not exclusively, the savings calculator from the American Public Transportation Association is pretty keen. You can input what it costs you round trip to ride Capital Metro (for most folks this is a mere $1, or $2 if you’re taking an express route), and then how far you live from work and what size car you drive (another great feature–you don’t have to know the specific maintenance costs for your vehicle), and it spits out yearly costs for taking public transportation to work vs. driving your own car.

My commute is about 4 miles each way, so by taking the bus everyday to work, I can save $323. I was fascinated to learn that the average round-trip commute nationwide is more than 24 miles! If my commute was as long as the average, I would save $981.

Those are real numbers I can take to the bank!

8 thoughts on “I can save $323!

  1. DarkPhoenix

    I wonder what the numbers would be like if they added a calculator for the increase in commute time between driving a car and taking the Capital Metro. Mine would be quite a difference because I would have to walk 2 miles (4 miles roundtrip) in addition to the bus ride.

  2. M1EK

    Yes, but you should also consider the positive benefits (if any) of the walk, as another commenter pointed out on a different thread. However, I don’t think even google transit will give you a transit option with a walk that long, will it?

  3. Adam Shaivitz

    APTA’s calculator says I’d save about $1,603 by riding the bus every day (my commute is quite a bit longer than Erica’s). Filled it out just for fun since I’m already in the RideShare program.

    The various commute cost calculators on the web have their differences. But if they at least get you to think about your transportation habits and consider your options, then that’s a good thing.

  4. Erica McKewen

    darkphoenix: I think it all depends on your starting/ending points… yes, a two-mile walk adds a bit to the commute time, although m1ek makes a good point, too, about the other potential benefits value of walking. If you were able to get on an express or flyer route to get to your destination, and then didn’t have to worry about parking (again, depends on where you are going), public transit could actually be faster.

    But, I agree with you that to be fair one would need to weigh the value of public transit against the value of your time. More often than not, people classify their time as priceless…

  5. Snowed In

    Google Maps does give me a walking option (although Cap Metro’s own site doesn’t), but my walk is only just over a mile. And yes, there are days where a nice walk, coupled with not dealing with traffic, might be a good thing. But as long as temperatures stay above 90° and my car’s AC still works, there won’t be many of those days.

  6. DarkPhoenix

    Hope people don’t get an impression that I am against public transportation. I just want more of it. I want more coverage of Austin. I want more services so that wait times will be reduced. I want it to get be at such a level that people don’t think twice about using public transportation. Heck, they shouln’t even have to think ONCE! It should be THE choice.

    I work at National Instruments that is on the south access road of Mopac at Duval. The nearest I can get to is Burnet and Braker. Even the proposed rails will probably only get me to around there.

    I am not against walking either, I walk a lot at town lake. But! I don’t see myself walking 2 miles in my work clothes, lugging my lunch and other work stuff.

    I could bring a bike with me, but we all know from a previous blog post that only 2 bikes can be transported at any time on a bus, so that wouldn’t be a reliable option.

    Thanks for this blog, by the way. I love it.

  7. Don Dickson

    It’s one of my Texas mass transit pet peeves, darkphoenix….major employers and retailers and residential developers build along major thoroughfares like 35 and Mopac, but there’s no bus service to many of these places and in many instances, no way to provide bus service. I once lived in an apartment complex very centrally located on I-35, and yet from a transit standpoint, I might as well have lived in Dime Box.

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