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Why alternative transportation is good for you, your pocket, and the planet.

Moving around is a big part of life. Choosing wisely about how you go from A to B can not only save you thousands of dollars per year but also make you and the planet healthier.

In Canada, the average cost of owning a car – depending on your province and your driving habits – is about $9,000 per year or around 20% of after-tax income for the average Canadian. (Use this calculator to see for yourself). Car ownership costs include value depreciation, insurance, registration, parking, maintenance, and fuel. If you’re trying to find ways to keep more of your hard-earned cash, then you may want to consider some of these alternatives to owning a car.

Get on the Bus, Gus.

Using Toronto as a baseline example, which is the most expensive monthly transportation pass in the country, taking public transit instead of driving a car could save you between $6,000 and $11,000 a year. Plus, you get to avoid traffic jams (Let’s hear it for the H.O.V. lane!), contribute to the local economy and use your commuting time to be more productive. Public transportation is also linked to healthier lifestyles.

It’s a taxi! It’s an Uber!… It’s you on the move!

With services like Uber and Lyft becoming more and more popular across Canadian cities, don’t forget: using ride-sharing as your only transportation mode will cost you more than owning a car. However, taking an Uber or a Taxi beat taking public transportation after a trip to the grocery shop when it’s -30 degrees out or when you’re running late. It also saves you the hassle of finding and paying for parking, gas, etc.

Share the road…and the car.

Car-sharing is a great alternative to car ownership. Services like Car2go, ZipCar, and Communauto offer you the chance to drive a car only when you really need it. Money-wise this is a smart move as long as you’re not using it to drive more than 20,000 km per year. Most car-sharing services offer fees that include gas, insurance, and parking, too!

Get healthier and wealthier.

Using your own steam to move from one place to another not only saves you money and the burden of shoveling a car out of a snowbank, but it also makes you healthier. While not great for long distances or during extreme weather, choosing to walk or bike when possible, help you stay fit. Even short walks and quick bike rides help you increase your lifespan, lower your blood pressure, maintain good cholesterol levels and put you –and your bank account– in a good mood.

Hit the road, Jack.

Canadians living in rural areas or small towns often lack options for alternative transportation, and owning a vehicle can be a necessity of life. Keep your costs lower by choosing an electric vehicle(check out these helpful government subsidies) or opt for  less expensive car models that offer better fuel efficiency and require less maintenance.  Avoid ownership of a second car. Car-pooling can also be a great way to increase your savings. For long distance trips, services like Kangaride are an alternative.

You Win. The Planet Wins.

It’s become increasingly clear that climate change is a thing. If we all make our contribution to reduce our carbon footprint, we can help make a better place for us and the generations ahead. As new technologies become available and the use of renewable energy goes mainstream, choosing how we move around can make a real difference. Here are some stats to prove our point:

Taking the train or the subway produces 76% lower greenhouse gas emissions on average per passenger kilometer than an average single-occupancy vehicle.
Light rail systems produce 62% less. 
Bus transit produces 33% less. 
Biking and walking? 100% less!

So… while you’re busy planning your next commute, choose wisely. Both for your pocket and the planet.