Mass Transit, or public transportation, is an alternative method funded by tax-payers and provided for by federal, state, and local governments, and includes: shuttles, buses, light-rail systems, rapid-transit systems (both above and below ground), Amtrak trains and ferry systems.
The benefits of mass transit systems include all of those of carpooling such as reducing travel expenses, and carry at least one additional benefit. Using a mass transit system gives you more freedom. Since these systems have schedules and repeat trips between set destinations, you have more flexibility as to when you choose to travel. So, perhaps you can pick-up that extra shift at work knowing that you still have a way to get home after you’re done.
The average one-way passenger fare on mass transit systems in the USA is around a dollar-fifty, making the daily round-trip fare to and from work or school around $3.00. Many school systems also offer free mass transit use to students as an alternative to school buses and, again, many employers offer free travel benefits that might further offset your costs of getting to and from work. In addition, most mass transit-systems offer unlimited weekly or monthly travel passes at a highly discounted price. This further eases the cost for those that use mass transit as their primary mode of getting around.
All of these prices will vary depending on the mode of transport and the distance of the trip. For example, taking an Amtrak train 30 miles to work will cost you more than taking a local bus route to the grocery store. The important thing to remember, however, is that, in comparison to owning a car, using mass transit is very inexpensive. Most areas have access to at least one, if not several, types of mass transit systems. So check out your local transportation authority to find out about your local routes and fares.
And finally, if you choose to use public transportation, you need to remember to allow a little extra time to get to your destination. That “last mile” or so from the public transportation pick-up/drop-off point to your final location will almost certainly need to be walked, so allow the necessary time. Also remember that although public systems are convenient, delays can happen and you need to have an alternative plan ready when they do.