In today’s paper, I read an article titled “Average cost of transport is 3 months’ pay” by Sean Holstege. Basically, it talks about the fact that, “researchers have now come up with Transportation Freedom Day, the date when an average household has paid off its annual costs of getting around in a particular city.” Kinda reminds you of the whole tax freedom day which tends to make people’s skin crawl by reminding them that they work until April 23rd to pay their annual taxes.
The article brings up many interesting points and observations when it comes to transportation in that, Phoenix ranks “in the middle of the pack” in comparison to other U.S. metro areas. Cities like San Francisco and New York rank at the top of the list, while cities that are more spread out and offer less transportation options do not rank very well. Obviously, there are lifestyle differences to be taken into consideration. New Yorkers probably pay just a “little” more for services in general, than say people in Tucson, which ranked near the bottom. The Transportation Freedom Day study was done by the Center for Neighborhood Technology which also recently wrote about a link between housing and transportation policy. In looking further at the cost analysis of living near public transportation systems, it might make sense to consider that homes near light rail in Phoenix would be significantly less than homes near BART in San Francisco. One comment from a New Yorker on the Seattle Transit blog said: “But I probably hit rent freedom in like November so there you go.” (point well taken) Seattle’s Transportation Freedom Day came on March 15th, just three days before those of us living in Tempe.
In Arizona, we have many factors to consider when deciding to use, or not use public transportation. Cost, convenience and choice are but a few. A good friend of mine recently sent me an email about the rising cost of using parking meters in downtown Phoenix. He mentioned, “Phoenix increased the parking meters downtown to $1.50 an hour from $0.60 an hour. Enforcement was from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. That has now changed to 8am to 8pm Monday through Saturday. Now that trip downtown is a little more expensive if you are going to park on the street. However, buying a metro ticket and parking in the park-n-ride will cost $3.50… saving you on the parking meters if you plan on parking on the street for more than 2 hours”.”This is obviously a great observation and one that might help people decide to jump on the light rail. Tempe charges $1.50 per hour near Mill Avenue ,as well, which is one of the many reasons I like the park and ride lots. 🙂