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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Mantill Williams
(202) 496-4869

 Double Digit Rise in Gas Prices Marks Largest Savings in Nearly Three Years - Giving Public Transit Riders Economic Edge


Individuals can save more than $10,000 a year

Washington, DC- A simple change adds up to major savings as gas prices rise.  Riding public transportation saves individuals, on average, $10,116  annually and $843 per month according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report which bases these savings  on the April 13, 2011 average national gas price ($3.81 per gallon-reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.  This is the largest savings in nearly three years.

“As more and more Americans look for ways to save money at the gas pump, the choice to switch to public transportation is a smart decision," said APTA president  William Millar, “Switching from driving to riding public transportation is a proven way  for individuals to cut monthly and yearly transportation costs.”

Gas prices have risen more than $.30 a gallon in each of the last two months, and nearly $.80 since the beginning of the year. APTA says  as rising gas prices are straining Americans, riding public transportation is the quickest  way  to alleviate  the financial burden of transportation costs on household budgets.  

APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $161.56, according to the 2010 Colliers International Parking Rate Study.  Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,939.

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 April 13, 2011 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*

Top 20 Cities - Transit Savings Report
City Monthly Savings Annual Savings
1 New York $1,213 $14,561
2 Boston $1,114 $13,368
3 San Francisco $1,106 $13,268
4 Chicago $1,016 $12,192
5 Seattle $990 $11,875
6 Philadelphia $974 $11,684
7 Honolulu $964 $11,562
8 Los Angeles $912 $10,939
9 Minneapolis $893 $10,715
10 San Diego $883 $10,592
11 Portland $862 $10,345
12 Denver $859 $10,311
13 Cleveland $853 $10,230
14 Washington, DC  $850 $10,202
15 Baltimore $848 $10,176
16 Miami $831 $9,973
17 Dallas $797 $9,564
18 Pittsburgh $796 $9,558
19 Atlanta $786 $9,431
20 Las Vegas $780 $ 9,361

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 4/13/11.


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 2011 AAA average cost of driving formula.  The 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 April 13, 2011 at $3.81 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 two-person household lives with one less car. The amount saved assumes one individual in a two-person household manages with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2010 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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