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Report Finds MBTA Riders Save $13,300 Annually

Posted on November 25, 2014

As we take time for Thanksgiving many Americans will choose to travel to visit family. Those who ride public transportation will stuff their belly and their wallet because public transit riders save big money to spend on their holiday spread. This month the average annual savings for public transit riders is $9,635, according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) November Transit Savings Report. Individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can also save, on average, more than $803 per month.

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 November 24, 2014 average national gas price ($2.81 per gallon- reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers. 

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, which is the most recent report available.  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. The savings also factor in local gas prices for November 24, 2014 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.* 


  CityMonthlyAnnual 1 New York  $1,214  $14,574 2 Boston  $1,108  $13,298 3 San Francisco  $1,059  $12,714 4 Philadelphia  $970  $11,640 5 Chicago  $961  $11,533 6 Honolulu  $956  $11,475 7 Seattle  $954  $11,448 8 Los Angeles  $898  $10,771 9 San Diego  $850  $10,197 10 Portland  $845  $10,140 11 Minneapolis  $841  $10,093 12 Denver  $835  $10,017 13 Baltimore  $828  $9,938 14 Washington, DC  $811  $9,731 15 Pittsburgh  $794  $9,522 16 Cleveland  $787  $9,439 17 Miami  $760  $9,125 18 Atlanta  $758  $9,090 19 Las Vegas  $741  $8,890 20 Dallas  $741  $8,887

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 11/24/14


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 public 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 2013 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 November 24, 2014 at $2.81 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 a 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 which is the most recent report available.

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.

Contact: Chad Chitwood

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