Five Mass Transit Sleeper Cities

So, you’re moving to a new city. You have probably already considered several things, including the neighborhood you want to live in, things to do in the area, schools that are best suited for your children and where to find the best grocery stores. Hopefully, you’ve done your due diligence in hiring a moving company and decluttered your home to make the act of packing and unpacking more simple. But, have you considered leaving your biggest item behind?

I’m talking about your car.

We all know cities that are famous for their mass transit systems: New York, San Francisco, DC, Boston and Chicago all offer fantastic public transportation so that city dwellers don’t need a car. But, you don’t need to be moving to one of those cities to reap the benefits of great public transportation. These great cities also have a good mass transit system:

1. Portland, Oregon

The TriMet system in Portland is very user friendly. Commuters can plan their trip, including times and locations of transfers, seamlessly via live operator, a smart phone app or through texting. And here’s a bonus:if you live or are traveling within a specific section of downtown known as “Fareless Square,” transportation is free.

The Metropolitan Express (MAX) is another option. A light rail system runs from outside of Portland into the heart of downtown. Between the TriMet, MAX, bus routes, commuter trains and an aerial tram, you can get just about anywhere without your car.

2. Seattle, Washington

Much like other cities, Seattle offers a bus and rail transit system that can take you to most places. But, unlike many urban areas, this city has a monorail in center city and a sophisticated ferry system to ensure that all areas are covered.

3. Los Angeles, California

LA is known for its heavy traffic flow. In fact, it is among the worst in the nation with delays averaging 63 hours per driver per year, so it’s good to know about the available public transportation. LA operates 2,600 buses and a rail system that runs over 79 miles of track around the metro area alone.

4. Denver Colorado

Denver also offers both bus and rail lines, as well as an airport shuttle service that can help you out if you’re flying from origin. Further, there are free MallRide bus lines that transport riders up and down the city’s mile long 16th Street Mall. In addition to existing mass transit, Denver has plans for a multi-billion-dollar expansion to cover more areas and make its transportation system more efficient.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

As of right now, Honolulu’s TheBus system is theprimary mode of public transportation for commuters. But, I’ve included this city here because there are plans in place to build a 20 mile elevated rail system that will connect Oahu to western Oahu. Once the system is built, commuters can travel from one side of the island to the other without sitting in heavy traffic flow. Considering how high gas prices are in Hawaii, this project will be a welcome addition for many of Hawaii’s residents.

I know that, historically, we are a car loving nation, but this may be changing. Having a car is most convenient (especially if we don’t already live in a city with a quality mass transit system), but the benefits of going carless are often overlooked.

Not only is public transportation better for the environment, but it’s easier on your wallet, too. Did you know that a person can save anywhere from $9,000 to $14,000 every year but switching from private automobile to public transportation? Gas prices are the obvious issue here, especially for those with longer commutes, but imagine no more car payments, insurance costs, regular maintenance, parking fees, tolls and unexpected mishaps. If you happen to be moving to a city with a great transportation system, why not give it a try?

The list I’ve provided is not exhaustive. Take some time to research the public transportation system in your destination. Consider you daily activities and decide whether or not you can make the switch.

What do you think of this list? Do you have any cities to include? Please share below.

Photo Credit: Wired.com