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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:22 AM
Original message
Could riding the bus fund your retirement?



Driving costs you $8,776 a year

By Claes Bell Bankrate.com
Saturday, April 9, 2011


With gas prices headed higher and discounts on new cars in short supply, it's no surprise a new AAA survey shows the cost of owning and operating cars is going up:

AAA released the results of its annual 'Your Driving Costs' study today revealing a 3.4 percent rise in the yearly costs to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average costs rose 1.9 cents per mile to 58.5 cents per mile, or $8,776 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.


"Despite seeing reduced costs for maintenance and insurance this year, there is an overall increase in the costs to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. this year," said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying and Consumer Programs. "The 2011 rise in costs is due to relatively large increases in fuel, tire and depreciation costs as well as more moderate increases in other areas."

........(snip)........

This isn't the first time I've seen this annual study, but the price people, myself included, pay to drive never ceases to amaze me. Of course, they're getting a lot of significant things in return for their $8,776: convenient shopping, the ability to get to work on time, an easy way to go on vacation, among other things. I'm not immune to the charms of a beautiful new car, and new cars today are without a doubt the most luxurious and technologically advanced in history. But people should at least know the cost of buying into America's love of the automobile.

I mean, think of what you could buy for $8,776 per year. If you walked everywhere for one year, you could have a lavish vacation in Paris. If you rode a bike for 10 years, you could pay cash for a house in a lot of places. If you rode the bus for 30 years, our simple savings calculator says you'd be close to a fully funded retirement, with over a million bucks sitting in the bank! Maybe Harvey Pekar was on to something. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/cars/driving-costs-yo...



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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. One problem with that where I live...
Bill could wreck mass transit; millions in federal aid at stake:
http://lacrossetribune.com/news/article_c18d2c58-3f0b-1...

Public transit could come to a halt in La Crosse if the deadlocked Legislature passes Gov. Scott Walkers budget repair bill as written. Federal funding accounts for about 35 percent of the Metropolitan Transit Utilitys operating budget, and that $1.9 million in aid requires a collective bargaining agreement with employees.

Walkers proposal, which prohibits collective bargaining for most state and local government workers, could jeopardize that funding, according to analysis by the states Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

You take that kind of hit and what do you have left? said Keith Carlson, La Crosses transit manager. Thats just on the operating side.

The city could also lose as much as $1.2 million for three buses scheduled for replacement, Carlson said. The federal government provides 80 percent matching grants for capital projects like the recently completed Grand River Station, which was built with the help of $11 million in federal money.
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Cirque du So-What Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
2. It's in my plans...assuming public transit hasn't been gutted by the time I retire
My local transit authority adds incentive in the form of *FREE* unlimited travel for those 65 and older.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
3. My average annual cost for my vehicle is $1,128
Not including maintenance, insurance, gas, etc.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. My costs are fairly cheap, as well
I'm sure this AAA survey includes a lot of SUV's and other expensive vehicles, and features people who trade in a car every five or six years. My little Hyundai will be ten years old later this year, and as I bought it used, somebody else suffered the first few years of depreciation. Since it's been paid off, I could drop collision and comp for it, and save even more money.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I bought my 99 Cavalier in Oct 98
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. It some places it makes sense. I'd waste a lot of time using the buses where I lived.


But when I lived in Boston I loved using the T (orange line).

Still I had to have a car for things other than community to school which meant maintenance, insurance, and registration.

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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
5. No.
There is no bus service in my area.
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SouthernLiberal Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Not me, either
Even though there is a sort of bus service here. It just doesn't stop anywhere near me, or go anywhere that I want to get to.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
6. I'm another one with limited and inadequate
bus service where I live. And even with the current spike in gas prices, I'm probably paying well under a thousand dollars a year for gas. I drive a Honda Civic, live in a relatively small city (Santa Fe, NM) and therefore just don't drive very far whether to work, grocery store, to visit friends, whatever. And doing the routine maintenance is well under another thousand dollars. Plus, the car is paid for.

All that said, and as much as I love living here, I may well relocate to a larger city somewhere that does have good public transportation in a decade or so. It is so hard to know just when you should stop driving as you get older, and I'm 62 at this point. I do drive a stick shift, and figure that when I can no longer manage that it will definitely be time to give up the car. There is some kind of service here for senior citizens, which I will look into if I stay here long term.

I lived for nearly thirteen years in the DC area, and most of those years were before the Metro, the subway system opened. The bus service was so good that for the first seven years I did without a car, only buying one when I decided to start going to school part time, and the bus schedule between my house and Northern Virginia Community College wasn't going to get me to school and home and to work and home the way I needed. Even when I had the car, I'd take the bus to work (I worked at National Airport) fairly often because it was less hassle in my opinion than driving, as the employee parking lot was far enough away from the terminal that I spent as much time getting to or from the lot as I did taking the bus in the first place.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. A lot of the "costs" are just more examples of how we are being fleeced.
The recent post here at DU about dealers who tie all maintenance of their cars (including simple or generic fixes, like a windshield wiper) to a computer password so that the customer MUST return to the dealer for repairs, and so that a self-employed mechanic MUST pay for access to the computer system is just one example.

They are increasingly developing more expensive systems for even simple components of your car, like lights or tires, so that you have to return to them and cannot buy an inexpensive replacement at an auto shop. They can void warranties if you fail to follow their prescribed maintenance plan, returning when they decide and making the expensive adjustments they have decided are necessary. In a sense, you end up leasing your vehicle from them instead of owning it.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
8. Riding the bus can cost time, money, and opportunity.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. Also, the headline here is deceptive.
(not deceptive purposefully by the OP, but in the way it is presented to us by the media and how we are being trained to look at this situation)

The headline, "Could riding the bus fund your retirement?" suggests that we are SAVING eight thousand and whatever it is by riding the bus.

No, the point here is not that riding the bus will save you eight thousand dollars. The point here is that driving is becoming more outrageously expensive than it has ever been. You are not getting a big cash bonus by walking. Many people are being forced to walk, because the cost of driving has increased so steeply.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
13. what bus?
not where I live.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
14. umm.. NO.. not when I need my CAR to get to my JOB..
without a job there is no money for retirement..

:P
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
15. There are hidden costs for riding the bus.
Poor people know this well.

  • You spend hours longer getting too and from anyplace if it isn't very nearby and directly on a very convenient bus line. Time costs money. If it takes you several hours to get to and from one place, instead of 20-40 minutes by car, you lose the value of everything else you could have done that day.

  • This means fewer hours available to work. You aren't available to work overtime because you have a bus you can't afford to miss. You have a greater chance of being late to work if there are any traffic problems, which count against you even though you have no control over the buses. This all reduces your income over time.

  • This means a much smaller area available where you can look for work, which can cut into your income potential.

  • This means a much smaller area where you can shop. If the stores with the best prices are farther away you can't take advantage of those lower prices. You often end up paying higher prices for the necessary convenience of nearby stores because you don't have the time to take the bus to the better, larger store across town.

  • This means that going to multiple places to compare prices is out of the question, so you can't effectively bargain shop.

  • This means you also can't carry very much at any one time on the bus, so you can't buy in bulk, which is always cheaper. You can't buy family and economy sizes, which are always cheaper. You can't shop ahead and stock up when things are on sale. You can only buy as little as you can carry, and only what you absolutely need at the moment.

  • This means you are greater risk of losing some of what you bought to theft on the bus. While you are hauling a number of bags home on a bus it often isn't very difficult for someone else to find a way to reach into at least one of those bags. Either because someone is poor and desperately hungry, or feeling petty and in the mood to be mean, or just bored and looking for something to do to pass time, you could get home to find that you don't have everything you paid for. Wallets inside purses are also targets. Petty theft happens, and the cost of it adds up.

So how much money does this all add up to in a year? What is the total hidden-cost of riding the bus?

That depends on where you live, and where you are forced to shop and work because you use the bus.

The bigger question is, does that hidden-cost of ridding the bus eat up all of that savings from not owning a car? Is there any savings left? What is all that aggravation and lost opportunity worth? How much money do you save because you own a car?

I love the idea of public transportation. I use it whenever I can. But it would be foolish to ignore the realities of public transportation in some idealistic way.

We need to improve public transportation, and improve the use of public transportation and access to public transportation to try to reduce these hidden-costs.

When the hidden costs go down because we value public transportation enough invest in it, then public transportation will be more than just a dumping ground for the poor who are stuck paying hidden-costs.

Then we can really talk about the value of public transportation instead of just trying to rationalize why flawed and feeble public transportation is such a great thing, when we don't really support public transportation enough for this to be true.



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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Housing, too. Rentals within walking distance to subway, train lines are often higher.


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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Housing definitely has hidden costs too.
Even has the cost of owning a house is dropping dramatically, the cost of rest is going up just as dramatically.

Rents anyplace along transportation routes are always higher.

Rents in neighborhoods conveniently close to city centers and industrial centers on transit lines are always higher, because that means shorter commutes to work.

Only people with cars can really take advantage of the cheaper rents in those farther locations away from transit lines. And they will still get to/from work faster than the people who take the buses to/from much closer neighborhoods.

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Ratty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. #7 is stretching things a bit, don't you think?
Buses are hardly rolling dens of thieves eager to steal groceries from unsuspecting passengers. Honestly, what dollar amount would you assign to #7 for 99% of people?

But the rest of the list is good. I'm fortunate to live and work in an area with great public transportation so many on your list don't apply to me but I can see areas where they would. The big money losers for me are definitely #4, #5, and #6. If I find a good deal at a yard sale or thrift store I'm limited by what I can carry on the bus - and believe me I've had to pass up some really incredible deals. Similarly, everything near me is really expensive and I try to go on shopping junkets to cheaper locations but usually it's too convenient to pay more at the supermarket so I end up losing money.

I've never owned a car but we do have a good car share program where I live where you can rent a car for just an hour or two. I think that's the perfect balance but it takes a bit of planning and isn't as spontaneous as if I owned my own car. Ultimately I do want to get my own car someday but only use it a couple times a month.
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. That depends on which buses and in which areas.
In most areas, you're right. But trying taking some inner city buses.

Hell, try taking some Greyhound bus routes.

The crime rates on some buses speak for themselves.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
16. What bus?
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
18. Not practical for many people.
Edited on Sun Apr-17-11 07:11 PM by Odin2005
I survive using the bus because I live across the street from a grocery store and because I get rides from friends in the winter, waiting for the bus when it's -10F out is NOT FUN. Also, some places in Fargo are either far from a bus route or has no sidewalks.

The lack of good mass transit in most places boarders on a violation of the human rights of people that can't drive.
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Louisiana1976 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
20. I've been riding the bus since Nov. 2007.
Yesterday as the bus I was in passed a gas station, I noticed the price was up to $3.98/gallon. Made me feel glad I ride the bus.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
21. If I had to ride the bus around here...
I wouldn't want to live long enough to retire.
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kickysnana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
22. Having had to ride the bus for a year, at least here it would take
years off of your life from stress. I still take the bus some places but it mostly does not go where I want to go when I want to go. I would never try to commute on it unless I had a very laid back boss.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 01:09 AM
Response to Original message
23. The fly in the ointment is this
Edited on Mon Apr-18-11 01:10 AM by SoCalDem
"The Bus" often does not GO where people need to go, when they need to, and in many communities public transportation is sketchy at best.

Once we created suburbia/exurbia, we pretty much surrendered to big oil/big auto/big concrete/big asphalt/bug tire company/etc.

Poorer people/students/older folks who do all/most of their "business" within a few miles of where they lay their heads down may be able to manage with "the bus", but most people cannot do that anymore.
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