Wednesday, July 9, 2008

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!