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Dump the Pump Day: June 18, 2015 – Free Rides & More

Dump The Pump
June 18 is National Dump the Pump Day! It’s a great opportunity to change up your routine, ride public transportation (instead of driving) and save some money. A recent report from the American Public Transportation Association shows that a two-person household downsizing to one car can save, on average, more than $9,569 a year!
Saving money isn’t the only reason to try riding transit on Dump the Pump Day. This year Spare the Air, WestCAT, BART, Wheels (LAVTA) & SolTrans are all offering something extra to encourage you to ri5de the bus or train. We’ve compiled their tweets (showing what they’ve got going on for June 18) below.
And if Dump the Pump Day inspires you to take transit more often, you might qualify for the $25 Drive Less Commuter Incentive! Find out more on our Public Transit page.

Americans Taking Transit in Record Numbers (2014)

Lynx Bus - WestCAT
Photo courtesy of WestCAT

A recent report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) shows that people in the US are taking transit in record numbers.  This high level of ridership hasn’t been seen since 1956, with almost 10.7 billion trips taken in 2013 — making it the eighth consecutive year with over 10 billion trips on public transportation.
Two of the important factors involved in the rise in ridership are economic recovery and the investments made by transit agencies to expand systems and improve services. APTA President Michael Melaniphy said, “When more people are employed, public transportation ridership increases, since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes… We’re seeing that where cities have invested in transit, their unemployment rates have dropped, and employment is going up because people can get there.”
An interesting side-note is that the increased demand for public transportation flies in the face of conventional wisdom that past a certain price point, transit use rises and falls with gasoline prices.  In 2008, with gas prices between $4 and $5 a gallon, the number of transit trips taken (10.59 billion trips) was still lower than for 2013 (10.65 billion trips), when gas averaged under $4 a gallon.
Will the demand for transit continue to grow? Based on the data, Mr. Melaniphy says it will. “There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities. People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth… This is a long-term trend. This isn’t just a blip.”
Follow the links for more facts from APTA’s 2013 report or to view the complete report.

Breaking down the costs of driving vs. transit

Dec 2011. Can it actually save you money to take transit? Obviously that depends on a lot of things, and varies by person, but a lot of research finds that yes, on some trips, transit is the cheaper option. What can you do to reap some of these rewards?
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that in 2005, the average annual cost of owning and operating a car driven 15,000 miles a year was about $7,800, or 52 cents a mile. Compare that to the median, after-tax, household income, which was under $40,000 per year. The BTS suggests that for a two-car household, about 40 percent of disposable income is spent on car travel.
At 52 cents a mile, the out-of-pocket expense for a 20-mile, round trip commute is $10.40 – assuming free parking at home and work, and no tolls. This works out to about $230 per month. Owning and insuring a car makes up 71% of the costs, the remaining costs (fuel and maintenance) vary. So if you’re considering carsharing, you have the potential to save a lot of money.  But if you just can’t get rid of your car but want to scale back the use of it, transit may be a cost-effective hybrid commute alternative.
Let’s pick an example: Walnut Creek to San Francisco.
By BART, this trip costs $4.75 each way. You might need to pay $1 for parking. Two trips and parking total $10.50.
To drive that 26 miles, pay the toll, and park (about $8 a day), someone driving alone during rush hour would end up paying $14 each day in tolls and parking alone. If you add in fuel and maintenance the real cost of the trip is $22.
And BART doesn’t even offer monthly or weekly passes. Check out these deals in Contra Costa County.

  • Unlimited rides on the County Connection cost only $60 a month.
  • A monthly local pass on AC Transit is $80, and a monthly Transbay+Local pass is $151.
  • The East Bay Value Pass offers unlimited rides on WestCat Lynx, County Connection, and Tri Delta Transit’s fixed routes for $60 a month.

Have you done the math for your household commute costs? Try this transit savings calculator from the American Public Transportation Association: Continue reading “Breaking down the costs of driving vs. transit”