Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

tamias6

Cost to Drive vs. Cost to Ride the Rapid

23 posts in this topic


did you factor in the cost for parking?

I did a similar calculation last summer when gas was above $3. Fortunately my round trip to work is under 10 miles, half of it is highway, my car gets better mileage, and my company pays for parking. I think the Rapid was about $.05 per trip cheaper. it would have to be a lot better than that to sacrifice the flexibility that I have with the car.

but in your case, that Rapid probably looks a bit more attractive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucky for me, the family is generous enough to give me rides. So Parking is not an issue. Still, gas prices are making me feel a bit crunchy so I'm trying to reduce my foot print on the family pocket book. Oh Wait a minute! I'll have double the number of trips since I am getting rides. I'll edit my post if I don't die from a heart attack induced by sticker shock. Give me a few minutes to edit.

did you factor in the cost for parking?

I did a similar calculation last summer when gas was above $3. Fortunately my round trip to work is under 10 miles, half of it is highway, my car gets better mileage, and my company pays for parking. I think the Rapid was about $.05 per trip cheaper. it would have to be a lot better than that to sacrifice the flexibility that I have with the car.

but in your case, that Rapid probably looks a bit more attractive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I've recovered from a Sticker shock induced coma here are my edited numbers.

In 31 days, 54 round trips are needed for my family to get me from my home to Kendal College to attend classes and back. The reason I said 31 days is because of the 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID bus service. Now, I did some calculations on how much in gas going to and from school costs me. To the honest, the answer blew me away so much so that I've posted my findings here for any of you, that are mathematically incline, to verify.

So here it goes.

The distance of my round trip (approx. 16 miles)

divided by....

MPG (17 city, my route is all on surface streets, no highways)

multiplied by....

The cost of gas per gallon ($2.56 and rising)

multiplied by....

The number of trips made in 31 days (54 trips since family gives me rides)

My answer came out be $130.01 I'm spending in 31 days.

The cost of a 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID is $35.00.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool idea to calculate real cost.

Some other food for thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The convenience of a car (going where you want when you want) is worth something too. The RAPID is also a very slow method of travel (so I've read)..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't count the cost of depreciation. Every mile that you put on a vehicle, reduces its worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now that I've recovered from a Sticker shock induced coma here are my edited numbers.

In 31 days, 54 round trips are needed for my family to get me from my home to Kendal College to attend classes and back. The reason I said 31 days is because of the 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID bus service. Now, I did some calculations on how much in gas going to and from school costs me. To the honest, the answer blew me away so much so that I've posted my findings here for any of you, that are mathematically incline, to verify.

So here it goes.

The distance of my round trip (approx. 16 miles)

divided by....

MPG (17 city, my route is all on surface streets, no highways)

multiplied by....

The cost of gas per gallon ($2.56 and rising)

multiplied by....

The number of trips made in 31 days (54 trips since family gives me rides)

My answer came out be $130.01 I'm spending in 31 days.

The cost of a 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID is $35.00.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The convenience of a car (going where you want when you want) is worth something too. The RAPID is also a very slow method of travel (so I've read)..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been thinking about this a lot, and I too thought that my car gives me freedom. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's a ball and chain. If you drive downtown, instead of being able to just be there and enjoy the area, you have to mentally wrangle with the thought of finding parking, negotiating streetlights, negotiating pedestrians, get to the ramp or metered spots, dig for coins (which you constantly have to keep a cache of at all times), or drive round and round the ramp higher and higher to find a spot, park, take the elevator down, finally you're there. That's freedom?

Could I live without our car? Not based on where I live and where we need to go most of the day. But if I worked or went to school downtown, or wanted to spend an afternoon downtown, I'd gladly forego my car to just be able to board a train, and hop off near downtown, and grab a streetcar right to the area I want to go.

Does the current bus system provide that kind of ease for me? Not really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now that I've recovered from a Sticker shock induced coma here are my edited numbers.

In 31 days, 54 round trips are needed for my family to get me from my home to Kendal College to attend classes and back. The reason I said 31 days is because of the 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID bus service. Now, I did some calculations on how much in gas going to and from school costs me. To the honest, the answer blew me away so much so that I've posted my findings here for any of you, that are mathematically incline, to verify.

So here it goes.

The distance of my round trip (approx. 16 miles)

divided by....

MPG (17 city, my route is all on surface streets, no highways)

multiplied by....

The cost of gas per gallon ($2.56 and rising)

multiplied by....

The number of trips made in 31 days (54 trips since family gives me rides)

My answer came out be $130.01 I'm spending in 31 days.

The cost of a 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID is $35.00.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'd don't want to know my costs down here in Wayland. Nope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To compare apples to apples, you really need to calculate the cost of operating the family bus (ie car :) ) per mile. The purchase price, maintenance costs, and insurance all are part of the cost as well. Then for the Rapid you need to calculate your share of the operating cost and capital costs that they recieve from the feds, state, and local millage. The "real" calculation might make a good senior project for a business student. :thumbsup:

If your family is giving you free rides, why would you buy a bus pass :shades:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are definately many, many factors in calculating the true cost of each mode, some of which are nearly impossible to measure. (For example, what is the cost of the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam?) For me, like the majority of people, it would be nearly impossible to live the way I do without a car. I would have to rely on rides from family and friends to make it to houses that are nowhere near a bus route. My job would become much more difficult, as I go between different locations frequently. I would almost never be able to visit friends in places like Lansing without renting a car.

That's not to say that every trip I make needs to be by car. I live less than 1/4 mile from a bus stop that will take me to Central Station in one direction and Woodland Mall in the other. But I am almost never able to justify taking the bus, as opposed to my car. Here's why:

- If you own a car, the cost of registration and insurance are the same, regardless of whether or not you drive it. Therefore these costs are not a factor when looking at a single trip. Neither are taxes, with the exception of gas taxes.

- I have estimated that the cost of depreciation on my car, maintaining it, and putting gas in it (which includes gas taxes) is about 40 cents/mile. At this rate, a round trip to/from downtown costs me approximately $4.00, and a round trip to/from work is $2.80. Of course, those numbers can vary a lot depending on what you drive.

- A single roundtrip on the Rapid is $2.60.

Based on those figures, it's really hard to justify riding the Rapid. I almost always find somewhere to park for "free" when I go downtown, and I personally find the annoyance of waiting in the cold for a bus to be just as great as the annoyance of finding a place to park. Also, my calculations assume that I am the only person in the car. Having three friends in the car with me would reduce the cost of a trip downtown to $1.00 per person.

Basically, my conclusion is that the cost of $2.60 per round trip for an occasional trip on the Rapid, combined with the hassle of looking up stops and times, is usually not worth it, and is why I only ride a few times per year. I could save some money with a monthly pass, but I would have to ride the Rapid on almost a daily basis to make it worthwhile. The only significant savings would occur only if I was able to sell my car and ride the Rapid entirely. But that would require a much more comprehensive system than the current one (which is why we need to make it bigger and better).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you are goping to add the costs the government pays to operate the transit, you also need to include the costs paid by society, both directly and indirectly,

to build and maintain the road system. Which is enormous.

P.S. - If you are going to claim those costs are paid through gas taxes, you are deluded in thinking that the gas tax pays the total cost of the road network.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Obviously my name says a lot about how I feel about this issue...

But I feel people have made some really good points on the topic. For some, riding The Rapid actually saves money each month. For others, riding the bus is an inconvenience and may not actually save money. Which boat you're in obviously depends on a number of factors: where you live, how far away you work/attend school, and the limited schedule of The Rapid (late night, weekends).

I think it's important to remember that if you want to reduce your ecofootprint, riding mass transit is a good step in the right direction. Maybe you have to rearrange your schedule a bit to make it work or maybe you have to wait in the cold once and a while, but that's part of the deal when you make a personal choice. As more people ride, the services will be improved and inconveniences will be less noticeable. Like many mass transit services around the country, The Rapid has had to be very careful with its development because of limited funds. The main reason cars are so convenient is because they've been heavily subsidized by the government, a point made clear by some of the statistics given in previous posts.

As energy prices continue to rise, more and more people will realize how important using mass transit is. Hopefully more funds will begin to be directed to the Rapid rather than huge road projects and the services will continue to improve (they do a better job every year!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When our office was right next to Central Station, I went through the calculations of figuring out if the Rapid would make sense for me or not. You also have to consider the value of your personal time, as everyone knows Time is Money. It would've been more expensive for me to ride the rapid, especially considering I live only 3 miles from work a half of that trip is on the highway... Even with my gas guzzling v8 early-90s crappy car, it is still much cheaper for me to drive myself :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have friends that have to drive hundreds of miles daily in a van for on-site work. There's no way they couldn't use a vehicle to work. But many of us can, and everyone would benefit if only some of us take our cars off the road. Roads would be a little less congested and there would be a little less pollution in the air. Oil demand would be a little lower making it easier for those that require personal vehicles to operate them.

For me personally, I live in the city but work in the suburbs, so a bus isn't an option for me. Not yet anyway. If I ever change jobs and work downtown I'll surely give the bus a fair try. I live a relatively short walk from two different bus stops and I'm close enough to downtown that even a slow bus would still make for a quick commute.

Actually, now that I think about it, if I worked downtown I'd probably ride my bike on nice days and only use the bus when it's nasty out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you are goping to add the costs the government pays to operate the transit, you also need to include the costs paid by society, both directly and indirectly,

to build and maintain the road system. Which is enormous.

P.S. - If you are going to claim those costs are paid through gas taxes, you are deluded in thinking that the gas tax pays the total cost of the road network.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...

The [cost] of my round trip ...

$130.01 I'm spending in 31 days.

The cost of a 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID is $35.00.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My answer came out be $130.01 I'm spending in 31 days.

The cost of a 31 day unlimited ride pass on the RAPID is $35.00.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might also want to try and determine what your time is worth. In many instances, riding the bus takes a lot longer than driving your car, especially you have to transfer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You might also want to try and determine what your time is worth. In many instances, riding the bus takes a lot longer than driving your car, especially you have to transfer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.