What’s going in with your New Year’s resolution?

How much money can you save?

We are 56 days into 2011. How’s your New Year’s resolution going?

If you (like me) promised yourself you’d save more money this year, have you tried the bus yet?

The new year spurs many to make grand plans to better their lives. Those plans are easy to make, but the follow through is not so easy. In fact, one Colorada woman described her journey as “intense.” Last year Anna Newell Jones decided to embark on a year-long “spending fast” where she would only buy necessities. Making some serious lifestyle adjustments saved her nearly $18,000 in a single year.  She credits the bus alone for saving her $1400.

Alan Greenfield, a 29 year old San Franciscan blogger, estimates that a year of eschewing ALL motorized transport for his own two feet or bike saved him around $10,000. His “Gubbins Experiment” also gave him unique insight into how to get people away from their cars.

Experts often point to transportation costs when looking to trim the fat from personal budgets. While consumer experiments like Newell Jones’ and  Greenfield’s are extreme and can’t possibly be replicated by the average commuter, we can carry away ideas on how to incorporate what they’ve learned into our own lives.

One thing that I took away from reading those articles about Newell Jones and Greenfield is that public transit is definitely more of an experience than driving alone.  Mixing it up with strangers is not something that I normally go in for, but I’ve found that riding the bus is something like an adventure in and of itself.  You never know who’s going to sit beside you. Plus, being higher than the cars gives bus riders a keen vantage point for observing solo drivers in their cars acting as if no one can see them. Apparently it’s not just me who likes to pretend I’m auditioning for American Idol in the car : )

Aside from all the local color you can see on the bus, both articles also show just how much money can be saved. Of course, the bus alone isn’t for everyone, so that’s why we promote park and rides, ridesharing, and telework. Be sure to check out our Commute Savings Calculator to see how much money you can get out of changing your habits.

If you’ve got a funny story about your bus (or carpool/vanpool) experience, please share with us in the comments.

[This just in! One of my favorites blogs, Jezebel.com, has just done a story on “How to Survive Public Transportation.” Check it out for some practical and amusing strategies for acquainting yourself with public transit.]


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