We recently talked about how cycling can save a ton on commuting costs while at the same time improving your health, now let’s talk about public transportation.
It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago, gas wars often brought prices down to below $1 a gallon. A long commute that used to be within the budget is now breaking the bank, and more people are turning to public transportation to save money on commuting costs.
Types of Public Transportation
Large cities, like New York and Chicago, often have both trains and buses, while smaller cities may only have limited bus systems. Some cities also have commuter buses, which pick up and return drivers from a designated lot or stop. Special public buses may provide curbside service for disabled commuters.
Learning the Routes and Schedules
The best way to learn the routes and schedules is by making a dry run on your day off. The problem is that many systems have limited routes on weekends. Most public transportation systems have route maps online and a customer service number, as well as printed materials outlining the rates, routes and schedules. Another great way to learn the routes is to find a commuting buddy; someone you know who uses the same system and will show you the ropes
Taking Advantage of Rate Discounts
Most public transportation systems have discounts for certain groups of people, such as students, veterans and senior citizens. They all have monthly rates that are real money savers. Check with your HR department to see if your employer provides discounts. If you only need to use the system occasionally, a daily pass usually offers nice savings, especially if you need transfers to and from your destination.
Safety and Security
Horror stories abound about the danger involved in using public transportation. The trick to staying safe is not to make yourself vulnerable. If you have to ride at night, try to ride with a buddy you feel safe with and try never to put yourself in a situation where you are in an empty station alone. Common sense must prevail when traveling after dark.
The money you save using public transportation can be substantial, when you count gas, car maintenance and parking. There is a little inconvenience involved, but you can still use your car during inclement weather or when time is of the essence. Check out your public transportation system and figure out what your savings will be. Chances are, it will be well worth foregoing the convenience.