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Top Tips for Saving Money on Public Transportation

Top Tips for Saving Money on Public Transportation featured

If you’re tired of constantly spending money on public transportation, there are several ways to save some cash on your daily commute. Whether you’re a student or a working adult, these tips can help you cut back on transportation expenses in a variety of ways. Keep reading to discover the best strategies for saving money on public transportation.

Get a Transportation Pass

public transportation

If you’re a frequent user of public transportation, purchasing a transportation pass can save you a lot of money in the long run. Many cities offer discounted weekly or monthly passes that are much cheaper than paying for each individual ride. For example, a weekly or monthly pass may be 20% cheaper than the equivalent number of individual tickets. Taking advantage of these savings means you won’t have to worry about having cash on hand every time you need to use public transportation. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about losing cash and the irritation that comes with it.

Another benefit of a transportation pass is that it encourages ridership. By simplifying payment, it’s easier for riders to use public transportation more often. Plus, riders with passes can easily track how many rides they have left, which can help them budget their expenses. Some cities even offer unlimited passes for a fixed monthly rate, which can provide significant savings if you take public transportation frequently.

Research Fares and Discounts

transportation pass

Before you plan to take public transit, make sure you research the fare and any available discounts. Many cities offer reduced fares for students, seniors, and people with disabilities. Additionally, certain transit systems may have special discounts or promotions for certain days, times, or events. For example, public transit may offer reduced fares during the weekends or for special events, like holidays or concerts.

The key to finding discounts is to check the website of your transportation provider or ask a representative. You can also look for third-party websites that collect fares and discounts for many transportation providers in a given area, such as CheckMyBus or Kayak. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you qualify for the discount and that the discount is actually worth it.

Avoid Peak Travel Times

research fares and discounts

Riding during peak travel times can be more expensive due to higher demand. If possible, try to avoid these times to save money on your commute. In addition, you may find that travelling at off-peak times is more comfortable, with fewer crowds and more available seating. Typically, peak hours are during the morning and evening rush hours when most people are going to or coming from work or school. Some cities may also have rush hours during lunchtime, so be sure to check your local schedules to see when they apply.

By avoiding peak travel times, you can effectively save a lot of money. During peak hours, public transit providers may charge more for each fare in order to limit the number of people taking public transit. So, it’s definitely worth it to try to shift your schedule to minimize travel during rush hours.

Walk or Bike When Possible

peak travel times

Walking or biking to your destination is a great way to save money on transportation costs. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Walking or biking can be particularly advantageous if your destination is within a mile or two from your starting point. It’s also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more active lifestyle.

Walking or biking can also help improve your well-being by burning calories and reducing stress. Studies have shown that regular walking or biking can help improve mental health by lowering anxiety and depression. It’s also a great way to explore your city and discover new landmarks, parks, and restaurants that you may not have noticed before.

Use a Ride-Sharing Service

walking or biking

Consider using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft for short distances or when public transportation isn’t available. While they may not always be the most cost-effective option, they can still be cheaper than taking a taxi or driving your own car. To take advantage of maximum savings, try using a carpool service. You may be able to split the cost with another rider going in the same direction as you. Additionally, ride-sharing services may offer promotional discounts to new riders or those who haven’t used their services in a while.

Another benefit of ride-sharing is the ability to avoid parking fees. Particularly if you’re heading to a downtown area, parking fees can be high and may even be more expensive than ride-sharing. Similarly, in busy and cramped urban areas, it can be challenging to find parking spots. So, ride-sharing can be more convenient and economical than driving your own vehicle in many cases.

Choose the Right Payment Method

ride-sharing service

Some cities offer discounts for using a specific payment method, such as a smart card or mobile app. Make sure you research the available options and choose the one that will give you the best deal. You may also be able to earn rewards or cash back by using certain credit cards to pay for your transportation. Many credit card providers offer rewards or cash back on certain types of expenses, including public transportation.

Choosing the right payment method can be a great way to save money over time. For example, if you can earn rewards or cash back on your public transportation, you can accumulate those rewards over time and eventually use them for other activities, such as travel or entertainment.

Utilize Free Transportation Options

payment method

Many cities offer free shuttle buses or other forms of transportation that can help you get around without spending a dime. These options may be limited in availability or route, but they can be a great way to save money and explore the city at the same time.

For example, some cities offer free bus tours for tourists that cover the main tourist attractions. You can also check for bike-sharing services that may offer free bike rentals at certain times during the day. These free options can be an excellent way to save money while still experiencing the best that a city has to offer.

Consider Carpooling

free transportation options

If you have coworkers who live nearby, consider carpooling to work to save money on transportation costs. This can also help reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and you may even make some new friends along the way. Often, people think that carpooling is inconvenient or involves too much coordination. However, with the growth of technology, it is now easier than ever to organize and execute a carpool.

You can use carpooling websites or apps to find other people who are going to the same place and time as you, or ask your colleagues if they’d like to share rides. By alternating drivers and passengers, you can save money on fuel and parking expenses. In addition, carpooling can be more enjoyable than commuting alone, as you can chat with your fellow riders, listen to music or audiobooks, or catch up on work.

Plan Your Route in Advance


Before heading out on your journey, take a few minutes to plan your route in advance. This can help you avoid unnecessary transfers and ensure that you’re taking the most cost-effective route. You can also use the time to check for any delays or service disruptions that could affect your travel plans. By checking to avoid imminently more expensive routes, you can focus on the cheapest and most cost-effective options.

Using a mobile app or website, you can check schedules and plan your route in just a few minutes. Many apps will even provide real-time updates and alerts about any potential delays or service changes. The result is a quicker, more enjoyable trip that saves you money and time.

Don’t Waste Money on Extras

plan your route

While it can be tempting to grab a snack or drink from the vending machine on your way out of the station, these little extras can add up quickly. Try to bring your own snacks and water from home to save money on concession stand purchases. Rather than rub it in by being around things you can’t buy, especially when you’re in a hurry, bring some snacks to help save you some money.

You may also want to bring headphones or download some music or audiobooks to keep you entertained during your commute. This can help you avoid spending money on expensive magazines or newspapers – even if you only occasionally purchase them –, which will add up in the long run. Keep yourself entertained (and informed) with something you already purchased – such as your mobile phone and data – rather than just being a captive to ancillary services.

Author: Caroline Hunter

Author: Caroline Hunter

Caroline Hunter is the ultimate travel chameleon - she can switch from a rugged backpacker to a glamorous hotel-goer in the blink of an eye. With a decade of solo traveling experience, she's collected tips and tricks from every corner of the globe. And now, she's generously sharing her secrets with us mere mortals who still struggle to pack a suitcase without forgetting something crucial. So, whether you're a fan of roughing it or prefer to indulge in luxury, Caroline's got you covered.

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