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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Lesa Rair
(202) 496-4804

 Public Transportation Gets People to Work While Helping Them Save Money

  Individuals save up to $830 this month just by switching how they commute

Washington, D.C. – Americans looking to save some extra money this month don’t need to go out less or work extra hours, they can save hundreds of dollars by changing how they get to work. According to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) September Transit Savings Report, individuals who switch from driving to riding public transportation can save, on average, up to $830 dollars this month, and up to $9,964 annually. These savings are based on the September 12, 2011 average national gas price ($3.649 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

“As the economy continues to struggle many of America’s workers depend on their local public transit system to get to and from work,” said APTA President William Millar. “Public transportation provides a safe, affordable and reliable way to get them where they need to go.”

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 $155.22, according to the 2011 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,862.64.

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 September 12, 2011 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*

City Monthly Savings Annual Savings
1 New York $1,218 $14,614
2 Boston $1,127 $13,526
3 San Francisco $1,095 $13,142
4 Seattle $999 $11,990
5 Chicago $978 $ 11,731
6 Philadelphia $975 $11,694
7 Honolulu $946 $11,346
8 Los Angeles $901 $10,815
9 Minneapolis $890 $10,683
10 San Diego $874 $10,486
11 Portland $864 $ 10,372
12 Denver $860 $10,325
13 Baltimore $838 $10,059
14 Washington, D.C. $857 $10,282
15 Cleveland $829 $9,948
16 Miami $800 $9,604
17 Atlanta $784 $9,403
18 Dallas $781 $ 9,368
19 Pittsburgh $778 $ 9,335
20 Las Vegas $772 $9,268

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 9/12/11.


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. 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 September 12, 2011 at $3.649 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.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2011 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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