Lesson VII: Public Transportation

Being a constantly struggling college student (financially at least) one of my best investments was a bus pass, needless to say there are times when I have to have my car to drive but I try to use the bus when possible. Buying a bus pass is a small but efficient way to save money on transportation costs because it saves you gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle. Keep in mind that if you go to college in a rural area then this might not be the best option for you but if you go a school in a metropolitan area most public bus lines will take you anywhere you need to go. Let’s look at a few different scenarios…

Student A – Joe

Joe is a commuter student who goes to BusyTown Community College, he drives to school everyday with a commute that’s about an hour long. Joe realizes that in an average week he uses at least a full tank of gas (and sometimes more) which even in his fuel efficient car costs that’s $20 of gas per week. So in a typical month Joe spends between $80 – $100 just in transportation alone and the expense is getting to be too much for Joe.

Student B – Jane

Jane is a student who lives on campus at Bigcity University. Jane has a car to use when she drives home on holidays but because she is on a budget she does not have a lot of extra money to spend. Jane realizes that when she leaves  campus its usually to go to run errands like going to the grocery store, pharmacy or to hang out with friends at a near by coffee shop. Jane has a part-time job at a restaurant but doesn’t make a lot of money, so she starts looking at her spending to see if there is anything she can do to save some money.

So in theory Joe and Jane could be any college student in America and there both facing financial issues and are looking at alternative methods of transportation. I would reccomend to both of them to look into their local/state public transportation and see what’s available to them and if the cost is worth it. Students fail to realize that public buses often have pick up spots near their college and go to a lot of the popular destinations that they’re looking for at a decent price. Students also don’t know that their schools may have free or reduced fare bus passes available to them if they just ask for it. I know that an unlimited use, monthly bus pass for my state’s public bus lines is $56 (at the time of this publication) but after a little begging and pleading for the past year my college is offered half price monthly passes for students and packs of single use tickets at half price too but I know many other colleges who offer this and some even offer free tickets for their students and most of them don’t even use it! So lets take a look at our two students and their transportation situation.

Student A – Joe

Joe did a little looking and found out that his college bookstore sells half price, monthly bus passes for students and he finds a bus stop not that far from his house. He decided to buy a pass at $28 (half price) and instead of spending roughly $80 – $100 a month on transportation to and from school he is now spending only $28! That is a savings of between $52 – $72 a month or $624 – $864 a year!

Student B – Jane

Jane also looked into pubic transportation and found out that she could buy packs of single use tickets from her college bookstore, she isn’t sure if she wants to make the jump from using her car to only using the bus yet but she is willing to give it a try. Her roomate even suggested that they split the cost of a monthly bus pass and take turns using it to help cut down on how much gas they use, which is another good idea.

It all comes down to what is best for you, obviously this won’t work for everyone but if you have a fairly regular schedule and do a lot of driving you may want to look into getting a bus pass (especially if it is at a discount or free) and try to cut down on your carbon footprint. Plus when your on the bus you can be lazy and take a nap or actually be productive and use the time to study!


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