Bus vs Bus Experiment
For the month of December, I bought a bus pass. I wanted to test out how many times I would use the bus. I recorded every usage in the instances where I would have to pay $3.
The pass cost me $146.25. To break even, I needed to make 49 trips where I would normally have to pay $3.
10 days into December saw me use the pass a total of 17 times in 10 days. I was on track to make it worth it. However, every day is different and the latter part of December is particularly special with more holidays and festivities happening.
In addition, transit on New Year's Eve was free in Toronto.
For the remaining 21 days of December, I used the bus pass a total of 31 more times, bringing my grand total in December to 48 trips.
I was 1 trip short of break even.
That free New Year's Eve transit was the difference.
The reality is that I took 10 trips (5 roundtrips) to and from the tennis courts when I could have borrowed my wife's monthly pass. So in practice, I would have only used my bus pass for 38 trips in December.
38 trips x $3 = $114
Monthly Bus Pass = $146.25
Net Loss = $32.25
I should just use my pay as you go Presto Card no matter how short or long the journey. It'll likely be cheaper than buying an unlimited use monthly pass, and at best it seems it would only be break even.
And for days I know I'll be jumping on and off a lot, I'll buy a Day Pass for $12.50. Five or more trips in a day make it worth it. In December I only had 1 day where I used my pass more than 4 times so I will have to be calculated when I choose to use one. A Day Pass on that day would have increased my net loss to $37.75 for the month of December.
Hopefully, this experiment will help me shift my mindset to just pay for the bus even when I'm not going a long way.
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.