Drivers using public transportation save thousands on gas, experts say

Posted at 8:30 AM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 08:30:56-04

(WXYZ) — Public transportation is a great way to save gas during these record-high gas spikes.

Nathaniel Schooler of Detroit says he's been using the bus for the past month.

“I would rather just be riding the busses because it makes it a lot easier for me to get around,” he said.

So far — he’s enjoying the ride.

"No insurance, no gas, not paying for car payments. It makes it a lot easier in the long run,” he said.

According to the American Public Transportation Association — a household can save around $10,000 thousand annually by taking public transportation.

7 Action News Traffic Reporter Ali Hoxie reached out to the Executive Director of Transportation Riders United to crunch the numbers.

“Drivers can save a lot of money if they can take public transit,” Megan Owens said.

According to Owens, The IRS has set the standard mileage rates at 58 cents a mile for the cost of operating a car for business or moving purposes.

Using that number, if you are commuting around 20 miles each way to a from work, you’re spending a little more than 20 dollars a day.

“Switch that out for a $4 transit pass, and you are saving $16 every day. $75 in a week, just by riding public transit,” Owens said.

And that millage number was set before the increase in gas.

If you do want to save, using dart to pay for a bus pass is a good idea. It covers rides on SMART, DDOT, and the Qline.

A week pass of unlimited rides is $22. A 30-day pass is $70.

“It is good to try for the first time when you are not in a rush to work type of situation," Owens said. "Maybe get it out and try it on a Saturday so you can have a little bit of a sense of how it works."

According to SMART ridership is down.

During the last week of February, 62,000 people used its services. In October and November numbers were closer to 70,000.