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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Mantill Williams
(202) 496-4869

 Individuals Save $9,343 by Riding Public Transit Annually

 As Summer Gas Prices Increase, Taking Public Transit is Effective Gas Saving Option

Washington, DC – Individuals who ride public transportation can save on average $9,343 annually based on the July 7, 2010 national average gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate. On a per month basis, transit riders can save on average $779 per month.

An important gas saving tip is looking for alternatives to driving. Taking public transportation provides a safe and affordable way for individuals and families to cut costs, according to the American Public Transportation Association (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 Transit Savings Report” released monthly by the APTA 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.

The savings amount is based on the cost of the national averages for parking and driving, as well as the July 7 national average gas price of $2.72 per gallon for self-serve regular gasoline as reported by AAA.

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.

The top 20 cities with the highest transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass and factoring in local gas prices for July 7 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*

Top Twenty Cities – Transit Savings Report
Ranking City Monthly Savings Annual Savings
1 New York $1,158 $13,901
2 Boston $1,040 $12,475
3 San Francisco $1,029 $12,347
4 Chicago $955 $11,458
5 Seattle $946 $11,356
6 Philadelphia $934 $11,208
7 Honolulu $902 $10,822
8 Los Angeles $850 $10,205
9 San Diego $837 $10,049
10 Minneapolis $830 $9,959
11 Portland $813 $9,758
12 Denver $812 $9,747
13 Cleveland $808 $9,699
14 Baltimore $789 $9,469
15 Washington, DC $759 $9,108
16 Miami $757 $9,082
17 Dallas $738 $8,855
18 Atlanta $729 $8,745
19 Las Vegas $728 $8,738
20 Pittsburgh $687 $8,248

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 7/7/10.


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 2010 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 July 7 at $2.72 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.

To calculate your individual savings with or without car ownership, go to

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.

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