Thursday, 8 September 2011

Riding the Rocket: Part 1

When I first started this blog, I wanted to keep where I was from a secret. I've come to the realization that it would be pretty difficult to keep that under wraps. Besides, I wanted to talk about our transit system. So guess where I'm located. I'll give you a hint if the huge picture of one of our streetcars didn't give it away. I'm a Leafs fan. Okay, now that that intriguing mystery is solved, let's talk about the Rocket, also known as the Toronto Transit Commission.

 With adult tokens at $2.50 a pop and on the rise, transportation is easily one of my biggest expenses. Today we will look at ways to save some money on commuting because it costs a fiver for a round trip. Since I live off campus, this means I'm taking the TTC every school day. I guess that's what happens when your parents refuse to put you in a nice downtown condo.

Using TTC prices as an example, we have some options in terms of how to pay the fare. We can use adult prices as a guide. So the options are $3 cash, $2.50 per token, and $121 for a monthly pass. Right off the bat we can eliminate the cash option because both the cash and token options give you one ride on the Rocket yet paying via tokens saves you 50 cents so that is clearly the better choice.

Personally, the monthly pass will save me the most money but this doesn't mean that you should dive right in and purchase the pass every month because I'm doing it. Everybody's situation is different. Let's crunch some numbers (university students: I know school just started but basic math isn't something that you should turn off during summer break).

For example, if you must take public transit from Monday to Friday that would be $25 a week ($5 a day for 5 days). There are roughly 4 weeks per month so that totals to $100 a month if you were to pay with tokens, compared to the $121 it would cost to buy a bus pass. The tokens are obviously the better option in this scenario. By doing some quick and dirty math, we discover that we can save a significant amount of money and get more bang for our buck. Or rather the same bang but for less buck... you know what I mean.

However, I can purchase a monthly pass for $99 (hooray for being a post-secondary student) so I would be saving a buck every month. Now don't underestimate saving a dollar. It may seem like nothing to you but the point is to save money and if you lose a dollar here and there then you're going to slowly be bleeding out your wealth. If I bought a pass for the 8 months of school then I would save $7*. Again it may be a small amount but if given the choice I would rather have it sit in the bank collecting me interest than giving it to the drivers who I swear are toying with me because they leave the doors open right until I get there and then they slam the doors shut and drive off.

Next time, I'll talk more about when to get a pass, when not to, and what the pros and cons to taking public transit are. Do you take public transit everyday? How do you try to save money?

-the Paperboy

*Technically I would break even because it costs $7 for the post-secondary student card needed to use the bus pass, but I also use it to get to work so I actually still save money.

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