As Gas Prices Rise, Savings for Public Transit Riders Increase

Riding public transportation saves individuals $9,917 a year

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Washington, D.C. For those dealing with the 30 cent increase in gas prices from last month, taking public transportation instead of driving can be your Silver Linings Playbook.  According to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) February Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, more than $826 this month, and $9,917 annually.  These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle which includes the February 12, 2013 average national gas price ($3.60 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

“The quickest way to avoid rising gas prices is to include commuting by public transit into your daily routine,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “Riding public transportation translates to  large savings to the family budget.”

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 $166.26, according to the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study.  Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,995.
The top 20 cities with the highest public 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 February 12, 2013 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*


 City  Monthly  Annual
1 New York  $1,225 $14,694
2 San Francisco  $1,071 $12,847
3 Boston  $1,066 $12,795
4 Philadelphia  $981 $11,768
5 Chicago  $973 $11,672
6 Seattle  $950 $11,403
7 Honolulu  $946 $11,346
8 Los Angeles  $924 $11,086
9 San Diego  $877 $10,524
10 Portland  $849 $10,188
11 Minneapolis $862 $10,344
12 Baltimore $839 $10,064
13 Washington, DC $820 $9,838
14 Denver $830 $9,965
15 Cleveland $802  $9,628
16 Pittsburgh $801  $9,616
17 Miami $775  $9,301
18 Atlanta $766  $9,195
19 Dallas $759  $9,103
20 Las Vegas $737  $8,842

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 2/12/13

APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the cost of 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 2012 AAA average cost of driving formula.  That formula is based on variable 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 23.1 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on February 12, 2013 at $3.604 per gallon.  The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year.  The savings is based on the assumption that a person in two-person household lives with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2012 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

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems