May 15, 2008

Riding the Bus Costs More Than Driving
Miami Beach, United States

It bothers me how expensive the public bus is here in Miami. Although it's completely a subjective perception, $1.50/person is an excessive amount that really starts to add up.

Each round trip excursion by bus costs us at least $6—$8 if we need to take a transfer. Taking three trips in any given week can costs upwards of $20 for the transport alone.

And it's not as if we're going across the state, either. Simply a few miles to a Walmart, clothing-optional beach, or a shopping mall—places that walking Aidric in a stroller to would be completely impractical.

Yesterday it took us over an hour in each direction to go the 10 miles necessary to get Aidric his latest round of immunizations (not including time spent idling at the bus stop—a half an hour in each direction). Even with the price of gasoline pushing upwards of $4/gallon here in the greater Miami area, it still would've cost less in fuel (and time) to drive there and back with an economic car than to take the bus.

Yes, there are costs of vehicle ownership that would come into play (if trying to compare with equality), but I'm going to ignore those for this particular moment. These buses carry a lot of people (354,000 daily passengers, including 67,000 riders on the Metrorail system), generating quite a bit of revenue.

The price of public mass-transit in this country annoys me.

Comments:

The United States

Roosh

May 15th, 2008

I agree that public transpo is expensive in the states.. BUT

If you account for price of a car, gas, insurance, maintenance, and miscellaneous costs like deductibles when your car gets robbed, taking the bus will always be cheaper.

The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

May 15th, 2008

…not to mention parking fees in large metro areas (NYC I'm looking at you). I agree it's cheaper to look at it from that perspective.

I wish I had a motorcycle down here.

The United States

Erik

May 15th, 2008

Public transit is definitely less expensive than you suggest. Only a fool would use public transit for commuting long-term and not purchase a pass of some type. I see Miami-Dade's monthly pass is $75. $1.78 a day if you rode the bus to and from work each weekday this month. Even the 7 day tourist pass is only $19. $2.71 a day for unlimited use.

Can't do equal comparisons using the top tier price of one system and leave out the additional costs of another system.

The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

May 15th, 2008

Interesting — Didn't even know that was available.

Here's the link for others: http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/passtokens.asp

But I'm not sure the $75 monthly pass (plus sales tax??) is saving people money if they don't have to take a transfer (an additional $0.50). This month there are 22 weekdays. Commuting without the need of a transfer would cost $66 if paid in cash.

The United States

Erik

May 16th, 2008

21 days, minus Memorial Day. :) On your assumption, yes, full fare is cheaper than a pass. Though I suspect very few have a journey involving a single route and it would be silly not to use a pass on weekends as well. Then there is the fact many employers subsidize the cost of transit passes. In Miami's case, passes bought in bulk of 100 or more save $10 a pass, which employers could sell to staff for the $65. And the passes are significantly less for elderly and students. Aside from that, the token purchase at a much lowe price point will still save you money since the tokens cost less than $12.50.

Every transit system I've ever used in this country and in Europe has a pass, token or other ticket system that is less than full fare if used with the right frequency.

I'm a huge supporter of public transportation and disgusted with the virtually useless system in Phoenix. An article this week about light rail finally starting mentioned one woman who will need to take two buses just to get to the light rail line. Ridiculous.

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