How My Alternative Commute Saves $1,800 Each Year

Who wants to deal with traffic, pay for a parking pass or constantly fill up your car’s gas tank? Not NC State student Caroline Hansley who dishes in this blog about why she rides transit and how this alternative commute saves her money, time and more.

Every morning I travel 37.5 miles to and from NC State University from my home in Hillsborough, just outside Chapel Hill. For about 45 minutes to an hour every weekday morning, I catch up on reading and homework instead of dealing with the stress of rush-hour driving. I have the privilege of riding CRX, a weekday Chapel Hill-Raleigh express bus that Triangle Transit offers every 30 minutes between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. Every morning the bus is packed with about 40 young professionals, teachers and students choosing to ride the bus and not drive.

So why do I ride? By not driving alone to school, I reduce my share of air pollution and carbon emissions while also saving $800 by not buying a parking pass or paying the bus fare (NC State students receive a free GO pass that allows free travel on Triangle-area public transit. Staff/faculty pay $25/year for the Go Pass). Add to that another $1,000 or more per year that I’m not paying to fuel a car for 9,600 miles, and the savings really begin to accumulate.

If these reasons are enough to make you want to ride the bus, it is incredibly easy to get started. Sometimes you might have to drive to the bus stop like I do (10 miles from my house), but the savings might still be worth it (calculate your commute here). Another tip for saving time: bring your bike. You can attach it to the front of the bus to make for quick transit to and/or from the bus stop. I bring my bike to school to cut my walking time around campus by 30 percent.

Go ahead – calculate how much you can save by commuting differently, and maybe I’ll see you on CRX soon.

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