You may be able to save over $3,000 a year by making one simple change in your daily routine. Almost 90% of Americans drive to work in a car, and most drive alone. Using alternative transportation offers a substantial cost savings and other benefits. It is easy to calculate the savings potential of using alternative transportation by visiting a web site with a transportation cost calculator such as http://transportation.stanford.edu/alt_transportation/calculator.shtml.
Walking to work is obviously the cheapest way to get there. You pay no fuel or parking fees and don’t have to buy a ticket. If you live close enough to your place of employment, and have a safe route to walk, this is a great way to save money. Added benefits include exercise that helps to cut down on weight gain and avoid chronic disease. The savings for these are nearly incalculable.
Riding a bike is another alternative that costs nothing for fuel and provides great exercise. As long as you have a safe route, this can work for you even if you don’t live within walking distance. You will need a sturdy chain and padlock, and an available bike rack near your place of employment.
An electric scooter is another possible option. Most scooters will cost under $300 and can be plugged in for recharging. You need a safe place to keep the scooter so it will not be stolen, perhaps a bike rack and chain with lock.
Getting stuck at work when the weather turns nasty would not be great, but in that event, most people would be able to find a ride home with a co-worker, especially if you live so close you can walk or bike. You never have to worry about traffic jams if walking or using a bike. Some cities have become so congested that car travel has become slower than travel in a horse-drawn carriage.
Taking the bus provides very cheap and reliable transportation, with no hassles or cost for parking. Commuting by bus is 47 times safer than car travel, and many buses are equipped with bike racks for those who want to bike part of the way.
Some cities have high speed trains available that make commuting fast and convenient. Train travel allows you time to read and unwind during the journey home instead of fighting traffic. Many trains also offer wide seats with plenty of leg room, plug-ins for a laptop computer, fax machines, and food service.
Van pooling has become a great alternative in many locations. The van is rented from a local company and can accommodate up to 8 commuters, making this an attractive alternative to driving. In addition to the savings on gas and parking, this provides a bit of quiet talk before and after the work day, or the chance to do a little reading.
Car pooling is the least attractive alternative in terms of savings, but will still cut costs at least in half. In the face of economic troubles, that is nothing to turn up your nose at.
Some communities offer extra perks to drivers who switch to alternative transportation. In Falmouth, MA, for example, commuters who use alternatives are offered a 15% year-round discount at The Buttery.
A little research time on your part can pay big dividends for years to come. Imagine how saving thousands of dollars each year could build your bank account, pay off bills and boost your retirement fund. It takes some planning and a few changes on your part, but can be well worth the time.
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