Public Transportation | Saving Money & Other Benefits

Public Transportation

As a public transportation commutor now for 3 years I’ve come to realize there are all sorts of benefits of taking the bus or train to work each each day. Not only can you save money, you can reclaim time to yourself and avoid stresses of traffic in big or small metropolitan areas. So, think about some of these benefits when considering to drive to work yourself, or explore public transportation.

You’re Saving the Environment

Now that people are green conscious, it’s cool to be a commuter. I like the fact that I’m armed with my reading material, computer, etc. and can kick back and enjoy the ride. With all the automobiles on the highways these days commuters can help save the environment by reducing emissions. Having less cars on the highway also helps us reduce the use of oil.

You Can Accomplish More

I’m writing this post on my bus ride home. Commuting on a bus or train allows you to reclaim time to do more meaningful things rather than sitting behind the wheel of a car stuck in traffic. I’ve found commuting using public transportation provides me extra time to read, blog or get myself organized for the day. I used to work on my commute home, but now I feel like my commute should be time spent relaxing and winding down from the work day. During the morning commute I try to do a Bible study or read.

Save Money

Everyone wants to save money on transportation, right? There is no doubt public transportation can help you avoid additional wear and tear on your automobile. Driving your car less means fewer oil changes and prolongs the mechanical parts of your car. It also reduces the amount of money you spend on gas, parking and possibly insurance premiums. The best possible situation is reducing the need for a car for your family (although, I’m not there yet). Talk about huge savings! You don’t have to pay a car payment, insurance, gas and maintenance. Certainly, reducing the need for a car can save thousands of dollars per year.

Meet New People

There is a always a good chance you’ll meet new people on your commute. I’ve been taking the bus a few years now and see many of the same people each day. From time to time, I’ll have conversations with them on the ride. Meeting new people is always beneficial in making new friends and sometimes networking.

You Decrease Your Chances of an Accident

I don’t have any statistical evidence off-hand, but I believe you can decrease your chances of being in a life threatening automobile accident. You don’t have to personally deal with bad drivers. Certainly, a bus driver could have an accident, but it might be better to be in a big bus than a Honda Civic. :) And I would almost certainly bet the chances of having an accident on a train are much less than in a car.

Time Flies By

While a bus commute home might take the same amount of time as driving yourself, the time flies by. Personally, I could be sitting in traffic on a bus reading or blogging and not realize I’ve been sitting in a traffic jam for 30 minutes. Obviously, you have a much different feeling if you’re sitting behind the wheel of a car. A train, on the other hand, typically doesn’t experience traffic jams (depending on the city).

Reduce Stress and Rest

Probably one of the better benefits of public transportation is the ability to reduce stress and rest. As I mentioned, I try to wind down on my ride home. Getting your mind off work and focusing on doing something else is a great stress reliever. With two you children at home, I’ve found rest can be difficult to get some days. Therefore, I’ve also been known to take a little cat nap to refresh myself.

A Challenge: Try Public Transportation for One Week

I’d like to leave you with a challenge. Do a little bit of research for public transportation in your area. Note: you don’t have to live in a big city. Determine how much it would cost you to take a bus or train to work everyday and also consider the savings by not driving your car. Map out your route and try public transportation one week and see how you like it. I think you will find you experience many of the same benefits I have and see some savings.

Do you use public transportation today? If so, please let us know what benefits you’ve experienced in the comments.

Photo by shaggyshoo
















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7 Comments
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  1. It all depends on your community. Living in a city of 200,000 with a daily commute of 15 minutes, it becomes very hard to accept public transport times of an 1 to 1.5 hours due to mismatches in bus schedules and needing to walk the final mile. Bicycles or high mpg vehicles are greener, cheaper choices for us.

  2. I agree with Brian. It all depends on where you live. Some cities have more efficient modes of public transportation than others.

    In Los Angeles, since it’s such a big and crowded city, sometimes you need to take several buses to get to work. I once had to take 4 different buses just to get to work. It wasn’t really efficient, since it took almost 2 hours to get to work.

    But if your city does have a good public transportation system, then I agree that it can be a more economical and productive way to get to work.

  3. Olivia

    Depending on where you live and when you commute you may or may not get a seat, you might not even be able to get on. (I lived in NY for 10 years.) On the other hand you see some pretty interesting stuff, guys who have mastered the art of reading the Wall Street Journal by wrapping it around a pole, or women putting on eye makeup as the subway whips around a turn. Travel options are limited, as you’d be nuts to drive in the city and it is much cheaper.

  4. If only my area HAD public transportation! I live in Michigan, where people sell cars, so public transportation is low on their priority list.

    When I lived in Europe (Salzburg), I loved the public transit system. So efficient.

    My van is currently in need of a transmission, and as we just fixed hubby’s car, we have no ready funds for another huge repair. I can’t even go to the bank, because it’s 10 miles away (closest bank!).

    I’d take it if I had it available.

  5. I am a big fan of public transportation. The bad part is that I live in a medium sized city in the southeastern US so there is little benefit to me. However, I have been to cities in the US and also traveled extensively outside the US and the benefits of public transportation are evident. It certainly saves you money in gas but also many other benefits like the article mentions.

    Gas is going up, no doubt about it. Hopefully some cities can improve their public transportation facitilies as that happens.

  6. I agree that it all really depends on where you live and the public transportation that’s available. From December 2008 until May 2010 I worked in Dallas, Tx while my wife and three girls were still in Florida. I actually worked as a consultant to Dallas Area Rapid Transit and it wasn’t until after I returned to Florida that I realized that I didn’t drive my car to work one single day those 17 months. It just worked out that it was just too convenient to not to take advantage of the light rail and bus network. I got more reading done during those 17 months than I have in a long time. Now that I’m back in Jacksonville, FL (where mass transit is really lacking) I’m back to driving but my commute is only about 15 minutes.

  7. Michelle

    It is good but there are also, where I live anyway, lots of assaults done to passengers and drivers from other passengers or people looking for trouble.

    And it is just not safe for me, a girl, to be on the bus in the city/on my way home (esp my neighborhood) by myself, I always feel unsafe.

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