For the first two weeks in my new job I have been taking the bus to and from work. Not really knowing how the costs would work out I bought a monthly pass for May. For $88 it covers all zones for a whole month for all TriMet buses as well as the MAX, and WES light rail systems.
What I’ve found, however, is that I’m only taking between 20-30 individual trips on the bus each month due to opportunities for remote work as well as occasionally carpooling with Meaghan. A single ticket is $2.35 and a little math indicates that buying individual tickets would cost between $47 and $70 per month, a savings average of around $30 per month. That’s an impressive $360 per year, enough to make it worthwhile. The only drawback to this was the fact that most bus stops do not have ticket machines at them and paying with exact change every time would lead to me wandering around town searching for an ATM several times a month. As it turns out, TriMet have a solution. They sell books of single use tickets that the driver will exchange for a two-hour ticket. Perfect! $47 later and I have 20 such tickets to test out in June.
If everything goes to plan this should lower my transport costs to an average of $60 per month. That’s a total of $720 per year. This calculator indicates that for a 20 mile daily commute (10 miles each way) the raw yearly costs of commuting would be a staggering $2,080! That’s not including depreciation or the rising cost of gas, which means by taking the bus and managing my trips carefully I’m saving around $1,300 per year.