Most major cities around the world offer great public transportation options. Whether it’s trains, buses, ferries or something else, there is often plenty of money to be saved by making use of these facilities rather than using your car.
A friend and I were talking about the advantages and disadvantages of driving to and from work the other day. We were trying to figure out just how much money we were saving by not working in the city. The major cost saving we both identified was transportation.
The biggest costs for driving were the outrageous parking costs in the city and then all the toll roads that you had to go through to get from your house to your destination. The next big problem with driving was that you were at the mercy of traffic and would likely spend about an extra hour or so every day in travel time over using a train. Over the course of a week it would end up being about 8 hours extra (a whole work day) just to get to and from work.
All that extra travel time also comes at a cost, not just in time, but in fuel and general wear and tear on your vehicle. All of these things have costs, and while it is difficult to quantify them, there are no fuel or maintenance costs associated with using public transportation.
Cars also require insurance and registration – more costs that you have to wear to allow you continue driving to and from work.
In comparison public transportation allows you to be productive with your time while someone else transports you to work. You are able to check emails, write blog posts or even just do something like read a book – the choice is yours, unlike driving in a car.
Depending on how far you have to travel, how many tolls you have to go through, and how highly you value your time, public transport can also be cheaper outright than driving your car. Where I live it works out to be about ever so slightly more expensive than driving my car on a fuel vs train ticket cost, but that doesn’t factor in insurance, rego, car maintenance and the amount of time it takes me to get to work while I sit in traffic unable to make better use of my time.
When you factor in the rest of it, the train is easily the better option.
Now obviously there will always be exceptions, but in general I believe that you will be able to save money by making use of public transportation, you just need to look at the indirect costs associated with driving, particularly if you only have the car to get to and from work and you don’t really use it for recreational purposes.