Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Riding public transit saves individuals $9,190 annually

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Individuals who ride public transportation can save on average $9,190 annually based on the November 9, 2009 national average gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate. Over the last year, an individual riding public transportation would have saved an additional $255 due to the 41-cent increase of gasoline per gallon since November 2008.

"The Transit Savings Report" released monthly by the American Public Transportation Association calculates the average annual and monthly savings for public transit users. The report examines how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

Transit riders can save on average $766 per month. The savings amount is based on the cost of the national averages for parking and driving, as well as the November 9 national average gas price of $2.664 per gallon for self-serve regular gasoline as reported by AAA. Since last month the cost of a gallon of gasoline has increased 19 cents.  This is an increase in savings that equates to an additional $21 per month.

Taking public transportation provides a safe and affordable way for individuals and families to cut costs, according to APTA. In addition, local public transit offers a travel option that has an immediate positive impact in reducing an individual's overall carbon footprint while helping reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $154.23, according to the 2009 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,850.

APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining 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 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 2009 AAA average cost of driving formula. AAA cost of driving formula is based on variable costs 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 23.4 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on November 9 at $2.664 per gallon. The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year. The savings assume a person in a two-person household lives with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2009 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States.

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