Every day, around 143 million Americans make their way to work. And, according to the latest Census reports, over 86% of them commute by car and just 10% carpool. But, with so many public transportation alternatives, is driving really the best way to get to work?
Millions of commuters agree that public transit is the fastest, safest and most convenient option. Yet, for many others, the advantages of car travel still outweigh the disadvantages. To make an educated decision, consider the pros and cons of commuting via public transportation,
The Pros & Cons of Commuting via Public Transit
Whether you work 10 miles from home or 100, taking the train is bound to save you a substantial amount of money in the long run. And the longer your commute, the higher your savings. Plus, most forms of public transit offer discounts for students, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.
2. Lack of Traffic
With more cars hitting the road every year, traffic is at an all-time high. So, taking a train is the only way to avoid the risk of being late for work. Furthermore, it frees you from all the stress of dealing with traffic.
Driving is the single most dangerous way to travel. Every single day, an average of 94 Americans die as a result of a car crash. In contrast to that, city trains and railroads are the safest methods of transportation, with only a handful of crashes in the past five years.
4. No Parking Necessary
If you live and/or work in an urban city, you know just how much of a headache parking can be. Sometimes, you have to choose between showing up late for work or paying a parking ticket.
Of course, you can just pay for a spot in a parking garage. But that would make your commute even more expensive.
5. Tax Benefits
Most states offer tax breaks to companies that encourage the use of public transit. The exact numbers vary, but the annual savings are quite impressive all across the map. For instance, Chicago residents who take the Metra are eligible for over $1,000 off their income taxes.
6. Environmental Impact
Even if you drive a hybrid, your carbon footprint is giant compared to public transit commuters.
1. Strict Schedule
Sure, trains run like clockwork, but humans don’t. A train won’t wait for you if you oversleep or forget your wallet at home. Plus, you may have to get to work early every day if taking a different train guarantees you’ll be substantially late.
2. Lack of Personal Space
During rush hour, trains can get uncomfortably crowded, which can be stressful for some commuters. Chances are, you won’t have any leg room and a limited amount of breathing room.
Even if you’re behind the wheel, a car ride can be quite relaxing. For many people, it’s the only downtime they get on weekdays.
3. Walking is Unavoidable
Unless you live next to a train station and work across the street from another one, walking is bound to be a part of your commute. Though it can nice on a warm Summer day, a 10-minute walk is always problematic in the winter or during the rainy season.