Get on the bus, Gus

We all know that only losers ride the bus, right? Well, guess what? In an ornery new world of $3 gas, you may very well be a loser! So stop with the feeble denials, assume the position of a scrimping plebeian, and prepare to scrimp.

The new financial realities that will result from the freakin’ $45-$60 fill-up just may get four to seven of you readers to (1) consider the bus, (2) call 348-RIDE to get schedule information and (3) actually (gulp) get ON the bus. Hey, it could happen.

If you live 10 miles away from your job, and you go to work five days a week, you’re traveling 100 miles. If your vehicle gets 15 mpg in the city, you’re burning almost seven gallons weekly, about $20 if we do indeed get up to three bucks per. Let’s also say that you live reasonably close to a bus stop, where the walk wouldn’t be a hassle, but something you could easily incorporate into your daily routine. Heck, you could even fool yourself into thinking it was some sort of workout!

The one-way bus fare is $1.25, $2.50 round trip. That’s $12.50 a week, a savings of $7.50 compared to your wheels. Not bad. That means you save $30 a month, $360 a year. Decent enough, but compelling enough to take the bus? Probably not. Most of us will gladly pay $360 a year to drive solo and fume at lunkheads in our Pasta-fied Cloverleaf.

But Citifare has an unlimited monthly pass for $40. That takes your weekly bus tab from $12.50 down to $10. Instead of $80 a month and $960 a year to drive your 15 mpg-vehicle to work, you get that expense down to $480 a year with the monthly pass. So, the benefits of bussing for the average commuter are (1) savings of close to $500 a year, (2) 5,000 fewer miles put on your own wheels, (3) a few heart-jiggling, belly-flattening miles of walking and (4) a bonus: coffee and reading on the bus.

The Reno-Carson commuters really have something tempting to ponder. There are 10 buses a day leaving each way, and it’s a $6 round trip, $30 a week. That 15 mpg vehicle of yours gets 20 on the highway, so you’ll suck up three gallons a day for your 60-mile round trip, which is $9 a day with the $3 gallon. That’ll be $45 a week, $180 a month and $2,160 a year.

Compare that number to the annual bus tab of $1,440. You could save $720 a year. Plus you leave 14,000 miles a year OFF your vehicle and give yourself the very pleasant gift of 240 hours of reading/coffee time, whereas before there were zero! And if you drive some hog-ass SUV that gets only 15 mpg on the highway, daily bus riding would save $1,440 a year in gas.

Will $3 gas make buses cool again? Nah. But it looks good on paper, doesn’t it?