Commuter Benefits 101

How Transportation Costs Hurt Your Budget and How to Reduce it

By July 30, 2018 June 22nd, 2020 No Comments

Do you mumble to yourself every time you have to fill up your gas tank or agonize over what a public transportation fare hike means to your budget?

If you do, it’s not surprising. Transportation is the second largest expense Americans have every year. According to the website howmuch.net and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American makes about $76,000 per year.

Of that total, we spend the most on housing with about $18,000 (about 32 percent) being paid in rent or mortgages every year. That shouldn’t be too surprising.

However, have you ever calculated what percentage of your paycheck goes to transportation costs? That could be a shocker.

It turns out, on average, transportation is our No. 2 overall expense. It takes up an average of 15.8 percent of income, or about $9,000 in costs each year.

You might be able to trim food or entertainment costs, but you have great options to cut costs for transportation if you are a commuter.

Commuting can hit you hard in the in the wallet. The average commuter spends $2,600 per year in commuting costs, according to the CitiThank You Premier Commuter Index.

Commuter benefits: Your way to lower your costs with transportation

If your company offers commuter benefits, you set aside pre-tax money to pay for the benefits. Commuters can save up to 40 percent on commuting costs every year with commuter benefits.

Commuter benefits extend beyond just subway riders. Commuters use them for other public transit like trains, ferries and buses, vanpool, and rideshare (Lyft Shared, Uber Pool). The benefit also applies to drivers who can apply towards parking costs.

It also works out for your employer. With less taxable income, employers pay less in payroll taxes. Employers save on average about 7.65 percent in payroll taxes. If your company doesn’t offer commuter benefits, it’s a great idea to suggest.

If you want to learn more about commuter benefits, download the 101 Guide below:

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Atlanta, GA
Breeze

Boston, MA
CharlieCard

Chicago, IL
Ventra

Houston, TX
QCard

Los Angeles, CA
CQC (Metrolink)

Miami, FL
EasyCard

Minneapolis, MN
GoTo

New Jersey/New York
SmartLink

New York, NY
MTA Annual MetroCard

Orlando, FL
SunRail

Pennsylvania & NJ
Freedom Card

Pittsburg, PA
ConnectCard

San Diego, CA
Compass Tap & Go

San Francisco, CA
Clipper

Seattle, WA
ORCA

South Florida, Palm Beach
Tri-Rail EASY Card

Tuscon, AZ
SunTran

Washington, DC
SmarTrip