While it truly is the most wonderful time of the year, it is also the most hectic. With just a few shopping weeks left until Santa's arrival, many holiday gatherings to attend, and having to make the rounds to family festivities, getting where you need to go can be stressful.
This season, drivers should consider parking their cars, and taking public transportation instead. And the benefits go way beyond letting someone else do the driving. Here are our top 8 reasons to take public transit:
1. Taking the bus is delightful
Whether you hop on a local bus, schedule on-demand transportation, or take the subway, your time will be freed up - to read, work, study, or be happily entertained, instead of having to focus on the road.
2. Transit benefits communities financially
According the APTA, an investment of $10 million in public transportation generates about $32 million in increased business sales. Plus, property values soar for those who have homes located near public transit. By taking public transit, you are voting through action, to support these community investments.
3. Help the environment & reduce traffic
It's no secret that public transit is much better for the environment than individual vehicles. Eliminating one vehicle in a 2-car household by switching to public transit, for example, provides a 30% reduction in a household's overall carbon footprint. Buses also emit 20% less carbon monoxide than cars, and because they can carry many more people in much less space, they significantly reduce traffic congestion.
4. You’ll get more exercise with transit
Transit riders get more exercise than drivers, according to a recent Men's Journal article. Walking to and from their bus stop, or going up and down subway station stairs, equates to over three times the amount of physical activity per day, than those who don't take transit. And if your brisk walk to and from your transit mode of choice is 22-minutes or more, you’re meeting the daily physical exercise guidelines set out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
5. Taking transit is safer than driving
Professional drivers, like those who operate city buses, receive much more training than average automobile drivers (120 minimum hours of training), and they also receive refresher training on a regular basis. Statistically, bus and train-related accidents happen at a lesser rate, and with much lower passenger fatality rates, than car travel does.
6. Transit increases access to mobility
Public transit brings access to those who don't drive or can't drive. It enables them to get to work, to school, to the grocery store, and even the shopping mall, without having to rely on friends or relatives to do the driving.
7. Transit is good for your mental health
Sitting in a car, in traffic, on a regular basis, results in a great loss of your quality time. It can also greatly increase your stress level. On the flip side, taking public transit provides the opportunity to predictably estimate your daily departure, and arrival times. And Treehugger.com points out that it gives you "a chance to engage more actively with your community, and the outdoors", and get a little fresh air, and exercise along the way.
8. Transit is cheaper
Finally, taking the bus (or other form of transit) is healthy for your wallet. Savings are significant when you consider the cost of car payments, insurance, gas, and parking. The average savings for a public transit household over driving is a whopping $6,251 annually. And having more money may even translate into better living conditions, and the ability to afford a healthier diet.
Safe and Sound
Whether you decide to take the bus, get on the subway, or order up a vehicle on your handy smartphone app this holiday season, you can use your traveling stretch to de-stress a little, take some extra time for yourself (I've written some of my most witty holiday cards on the street car), and arrive safely at your destination, knowing that you made the right transit choice.