July 24, 2008

6 Reasons Why I’ve Decided To Take The Bus To Work

For the past few weeks, I have been commuting to work everyday. It isn’t as bad as my old commute but it is a 30 mile round trip and uses up a lot of my gas. The main reason I have been using so much gas is because I have to take one of the busiest highways in Phoenix everyday.I typically come to a complete stop at lease 10 times on the highway. Sometimes it is far worse than that and I end up taking side streets which adds even more miles to the trip. It is really racking up the mileage on my car, which is not helping me sell it. So I have decided to take the bus, and this is why:

1. The Route Runs Right By My Apartment/Work

I have done some research on the bus routes here, and I was happy to find an express route that comes right by my apartment. It literally comes at the end of the block, which is all of a 2 minute walk from my front door. From there, it runs to downtown Phoenix which is where I work. The stop downtown is within a short walking distance of where I work. So it may actually work out better than anticipated. I will have to get up earlier in the morning to make it on the bus, but this is a price I am willing to pay to save money. I will be getting home around 5:35, which really isn’t much later than if I drove. Even if I did leave around 4:45 to beat traffic.

2. The Bus Fares Are Cheap

I looked up the cost of using the express route, and it turns out it is no where near as much as I thought. For a measly $30 a month, I can have unlimited usage of the bus here in Phoenix. That is less than it costs me to fill up one tank in my car. My car gets 30 MPG easily, even better on the highway, but the bus is still far cheaper than using my car.

3. I Can Save A Ton on Gas

Prior to moving to my new apartment, I drove to work everyday and barely used any gas. But my new commute forces me to use almost a tank a week. This is far wasteful in my eyes, especially since I am driving by myself and not carpooling with anyone. I figure the gas prices alone will save me almost $200 a month, some pretty significant savings if you ask me. This money will be going to my “Escape From The Cube Farm Fund,” which will be introduced in an upcoming post.

4. I Can Save A Lot of Money on Parking

Where I currently work, the annual cost of parking is almost $1,000 dollars. This comes out to around $83 a month just to park my vehicle. By giving up my parking pass, I can save that much extra a month. Add this to the gas I am saving, and I am already around $280 a month in total savings. Not too shabby!

5. I Can Get Things Done On The Bus

On a normal commute, listening to the radio is about the only thing I can manage to get done. I have a manual transmission, which makes it even touger to multitask while sitting in rush hour traffic. Riding the bus, I can pretty much do anything I want. I can listen to music on my iPhone or bring my laptop and get some things done on that. Even better, I could eat breakfast or sleep the entire commute. This would make up for any sleep I lose from hopping on the bus. I think it would be much better riding on the bus, than driving myself.

6. Arizona Drivers Scare Me

I grew up in Wisconsin, and people seem to handle driving pretty well. Even in the dead of winter, people know how to keep up the flow of traffic. Here is Phoenix, it doesn’t work that way. I swear someone almost hits me everyday. If it isn’t someone almost blindsiding me, it is someone else going 45 MPH on a 65 MPH highway. I don’t understand it, which is why it scared me. Driving in a rainstorm reminded me of driving through a blizzard in the Midwest. People were slamming on their breaks, hitting each other, who knows what else…


I think this is going to turn out for the better, and I really hope it cuts back on my monthly expenses. As long as everything goes alright, I don’t see myself needing to drive to work anymore. Now if I could just sell my 2005 Chevy Cobalt SS…

Anyone Else Using Public Transportation?

Photo Credit: roland

11 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why I’ve Decided To Take The Bus To Work

  1. Jess

    Great article! I wish there was a bus close to where I live, but atleast I have a hybrid. 🙂

    You should post your Chevy on Craigslist.

  2. Adam Pieniazek

    Wow, $30 a month! That is wicked cheap. Here in Boston it’s nearly $70 for a monthly pass. It would be cheaper but a few years back they decided to combine the subway and bus pass so now you have to get the combo instead of just getting a subway or bus pass.

    I also highly, highly suggest you open up an online savings account with HSBC or ING direct for your “Escape From The Cube Farm Fund”. The savings rate is around 3% which isn’t great but it’s a heck of a lot better than the measly percentages at most branch banks. Plus with HSBC, they refund any other banks ATM fees. I know that having this online savings account was a huge help in my escape as it was tougher to get at my money and seeing that $20-$50 interest check every month made me try to save every bit I could.

    Good luck with your public transportation switch. I had to take the subway to high school every day for six years so I’m not a big fan of the MBTA (the subway-bus system in Boston); I’ll stick to my bicycle!

  3. Tricia's Musings

    Holy smokes that is cheap! I just looked up how much a Metropass costs to use the subway and buses (unlimited) here in Toronto and it’s $109 bucks!

    I’m off work due to illness but luckily I live within a few blocks from my work (hospital) so I can walk to work. My husband works there too and he walks as well. No bus, no subway no car! We save a ton of money. I think we only fill up the gas tank about once every three to four weeks.

    I think you’ll find even more benefits from taking the bus – as you said you can do what you want on the bus – eat, sleep, read, listen to music … but you’ll also be more relaxed when you get to work and when you get home because you’ll have avoided driving in rush hour traffic.

    If you decide to continue taking the bus you can save on your car insurance too. Switch your car insurance to casual driving and you’ll save a good chunk. That’s what we did.

    You’ll also save several hundred dollars on car maintenance. Ie tire replacement, oil changes, tune ups and so on.

    You are also lowering your personal carbon footprint by taking the bus.

    Put all the money you’re saving into a bank account that gives good interest (ING is good) and then take a really nice holiday each year. LOL I only just read Adams comment – looks like we think alike!

  4. anon

    You think driving in AZ is tough? Try driving in the DC area. Good god! On a good day, 90% of the people on the road drive about 30 mph over the speed limit. I’m one of them. If you go too slow, you’ll get rear ended. But then if there’s a single drop of rain, everyone freaks out and says “OH SH## WHAT DO I DO?!” and slows to a grinding halt. Then you’re driving 20 mph just because it’s drizzling. But then if it starts snowing, no one knows what the hell to do, but they THINK they do. So when it snows they say “hey, i’ve seen this stuff before, i’m cool” so they drive even more aggressively than when it’s dry… so everyone winds up skidding off into the guard rail on every road.

  5. Slim

    You didn’t consider the negative aspects of riding the bus. The weirdos who smell and are talking to themselves just wasting time and space riding the route. Here in L.A. it is a common place to see, maybe Arizona does not have such a population.

  6. Justin Post author

    @ Slim

    We definitely do have that type of population here. When I originally rode the bus from my old apartment, I rode through some of the bad parts of Phoenix. Everyday I saw the weirdest, craziest looking people. They would talk to themselves, stare at you, and all kinds of other stuff.

    But now, I am lucky enough to be riding an Express route. It is more like a coach style bus with only one door in the front. It only makes a few stops in the nicer neighborhoods and then hops on the freeway downtown. It’s pretty much 100% professional people and I don’t mind it at all.

  7. Pokin

    Love it. I think taking public transit is awesome. When not driving, you get to focus on other things like reading, getting some zzz’s, making faces at drivers who are stuck in traffic driving their cars…possibilities are endless.

    Glad to hear you’re saving $$, helping out the environment, and actually enjoying it!

    Oh and I totally agree with the other poster. $30 is nuts for a bus ticket. I think I had to pay $80 in Montreal, and it’s well over $200 in Toronto!

    Great blog. Looking forward to following it more. 🙂

  8. victor

    Yes, I’m 20, i work and go to college, i recently sold my 05 Altima because my insurance went up to 440 so i got fed up with that bull, and started taking the bus, save the 440 for insurance and 220 on gas.So basically around 8400 per year :). although bus is no very cool, my savings account is rocking 😛

  9. Rebecca

    I just started driving and I ride the bus or walk to to work and school because gas is 4 .00 dollars a gallon

  10. Flash

    This is a great article! I have been trying to convince my friends to move closer to where they work because it will save them tons of money and time. Many people I know think of public transportation as the poor people’s method of getting around.

    I used to live in Tempe and took a bus and the light rail back and forth to work every day, which was three hours total! I was considering buying a car to cut down on travel time, but then I had a brilliant idea – move a few streets away from where I work.

    After moving closer to my job, my commute time is only 40 minutes per day at $80 per month, and I’m saving about $7000 a year in unpaid car payments, gas, insurance, and maintenance, and I get valuable time back to live my life and do the things I love, as well as ten minutes per day of walking exercise.

    While my coworkers and friends are complaining about traffic, being unhealthy, living paycheck to paycheck, and etc., I have solved all of those problems by making a smart decision.


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