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How to Lower Costs of Commuting, Part 1: Sharing Rides

With the price of gas still very high, you might be trying to spend less on transportation. Some effective options are to share rides with other people, such as carpooling and riding public transit. Sharing rides could help you save in a few different ways: 

  • Save on gas 
  • Save on parking passes, if you keep your vehicle parked at home 
  • Save on car maintenance
  • Possibly save on renewing your car insurance. If you plan on driving significantly less in the future, your insurance company may lower your rate e.g. parked car insurance  

If you choose to carpool or use transit, your commute may take more time or effort than driving yourself places, but these changes can be easier to bear if you tell yourself you are doing things differently only for a short time, to save for a better future. When you pay less for your commute, you might be able to save more for an emergency fund, pay off debt, achieve a financial goal, or do other great things! Another benefit to taking transit is not having to stress about driving in rush hour traffic, and having more time for reading or taking mental downtime. Get excited about these rewards, because they’re worth celebrating!  

Option 1: Carpooling 

If you and your friends or family members drive to similar places at similar times, you might be able to share rides with them. One of you might get to work early or stay late to wait for your carpooling buddy. The trade off for these small schedule adjustments is that everyone participating in the carpool can reap the benefits of saving on gas. 

Option 2: Ride Transit 

Calgary Transit has a great network of buses and trains that serve many parts of the city. You can ride transit if you have limited mobility, and if you don’t live close to a train station, you can drive to the closest station and park your car in the designated areas, then use transit for the remainder of your trip.

For the best savings on transit, pay for a monthly transit pass, which costs less if you use it for most of a month. For August and September, the temporary rate is $56/month. Lower-cost rates for low-income earners may be available if you apply through Fair Entry. Find out where to buy or apply here. 

Improve Your Transit Experience 

Taking transit involves new routines, so prepare yourself before the first day you ride transit. 

  • The best route: Use Google Maps or the Transit app, or paper maps from Calgary Transit locations. These tools can tell you where to catch the bus or train. (The apps will tell approximately what time to leave your house.) 
  • The route to work, the route back home: Plan for both directions, since routes might be different for different times of day. 
  • Allowing more time for traveling: taking transit can take more time. Try to be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled, in case it is early. 

Other Considerations For your Transit Experience 

  • Dressing for the weather: Look at the weather forecast for the whole day. 
  • Something to pass the time: Bring a book or another hobby like knitting or crossword puzzles for waiting at the transit stop and on the bus. 
  • Schedule and route changes: Watch for signs and screens at train stations, Calgary Transit’s website for “service updates”, or their Twitter account. Calgary Transit communicates in these places if your usual route schedule will change. Calgary Transit changes certain bus schedules four times per year. Also, maintenance on CTrain tracks can stop trains from running at certain stations (usually on holiday weekends). 
  • Calgary Transit has more tips and a guide to taking transit on their website. 

Saving money on transport can help you save money for an emergency fund. Join the Momentum Savings Challenge to boost your savings, with cash incentives for participating! Learn more here. 

Sources 

https://moneywise.ca/managing-money/budgeting/gas-prices-inflation 

https://www.unitusccu.com/blog/how-to-cope-with-soaring-gas-prices/#:~:text=The%20most%20control%20you%20have%20over%20rising%20gas,items%20out%20of%20your%20trunk%20to%20reduce%20weight. 

https://moneypantry.com/save-money-on-transportation/ 

Contributed by Ruth-Anne Klassen 

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