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Cost of using public transport for work purposes

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Thanks to Australian cities’ propensity towards urban sprawl, as well as its comparatively low CBD density, transport networks are less expansive than in other parts of the world, and are subsequently less used. However, there is no doubt regarding the great disparity in cost between driving and public transport. When you take into account vehicle maintenance, registration, fuel costs, and CBD parking costs, it is apparent that savings of thousands of dollars can be made, although even here there is great variation in costs depending on the type of vehicle and commuting distance. Evidently, there are also huge environmental savings to be made when people opt for public transport instead of driving. Public transport users contribute to lowering the cost of pollution, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This FACT indicates the cost per year of commuting to and from work into the CBD using public transport, assuming a five day work week and commuting during peak hour traffic (usually a higher tariff rate for public transport commuters). For cities that implement zone pricing structures, (that is, the cost increases the further one travels), the average commute to the CBD is used. In some instances, there are multiple modes of public transport. In these cases, the ticket prices are averaged. There are also cases where there are multiple ways to pay for the tickets over the working year. The cheapest way was used for any given scenario. The city with the highest cost to commute is Sydney at $2710 in one year. The city with the lowest cost is Darwin at $960 in one year.

Low is good

Source: Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, 2015, Adelaide Metro; TransLink; Transport Canberra; Northern Territory Government; Metro Tasmania; Public Transport Victoria; Transperth and Transport NSW 2018

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