Driving less helps students save money

Public transportation is a great way to save money.

In California, simply driving somewhere is typically the most common way people use to reach their destinations. Freeways and highways stretch out across our state, most driveway have a car or two parked in it and the rising cost of gas affects just about everyone.

Even though public transportation like buses, trolleybuses and especially carpooling might take some time to reach a destination, saving money and conserving resources in the long run should be more important, especially if you are a student.

It is time to realize that with the increasing cost of gas, and reliance on motor vehicles is unhealthy at times.

In the entire United States, our obsession with cars and freeways is the most obvious. In the San Diego region alone, an Equinox Center study found that 76 percent of people drive to work alone and only 13 percent use public transportation or carpool.

It’s certainly true that San Diego’s public transportation system isn’t as all-encompassing as the ones in big metropolitan areas such as New York City, it doesn’t mean that our public transportation isn’t just as good of a way to get to our destinations.

For Palomar College students, the location of a NCTD Sprinter station directly across the street from campus is very convenient. With Sprinter stations and bus stops spread all across North County, it’s very easy to get to school without even setting foot in a car. Palomar College students can buy a monthly Sprinter/Breeze pass for the discounted price of $47.

If the average student drives 10 miles to school and back, five days a week, in a four-cylinder car, they’ll spend close to $60 a month, according to a gas price calculator on gasbuddy.com. With the gas prices in our region as high as they are, it’s very easy to see that the average student can spend to much money a year to simply make it school, without counting the trips to Starbucks or other places that a student might make.

Even without counting the extra trips a college student makes, using public transportation is still cheaper than driving a car to school everyday of the week. For many students, having part-time jobs will sometimes only pay for gas and bills leaving little money to spend or save.

Carpooling is another great way to save money on gas costs. If two people carpool to school, it will cut the cost gas in half. Carpooling will more people just decreases the cost further.

There are even benefits for people who carpool beyond spending less money. The various FasTrak carpool lanes throughout San Diego County normally charge drivers to use them, but are free for vehicles with two or more people in it.

Even for those of us who need a car on the weekends or during our time away from campus, replacing the drive to school with a Sprinter ride or driving in a carpool can save us quite a bit of money in the long run— especially if a student lives further from Palomar College or drives a bigger, gas-guzzling car.

So look into taking public transportation or carpooling to school. Not only are you lessening your impact on the environment, but you’re saving a few extra bucks in the process.

Author: Mike Peterson

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2 Comments

  1. Great article!
    Yes, students should think twice before buying a car or driving alone. More and more mobility options are becoming available such as carpooling, car-sharing, bike sharing and more. Those options are convenient, safe and fun.
    On http://www.carpooling.com, we now have 2 million users every month and the number is growing. Students are the ones starting the trend and then they keep on carpooling because it’s such a great system.

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  2. Great article, indeed, Mike! Palomar has a SPRINTER and BREEZE station right on campus. We can also confirm in the next year, NCTD will be testing wi-fi on on the SPRINTER. It’s a great way to get in some study time when you’d otherwise be stuck in traffic.

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