Here's How Much a Monthly Transit Pass Costs in 6 Big U.S. Cities

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  • Living in a city with good public transit can offer convenience.
  • Using public transit can provide significant cost savings for residents who don't need to own a car.
  • Learn how much a monthly transit pass will cost you in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

While a monthly transit pass can be pricey, it may be the cheapest way to pay for frequent rides.

Living in a city with excellent public transportation can be a win for your wallet. You may be able to lower your monthly living costs by not needing to have a car. If you can avoid having a car payment and paying for car insurance and maintenance costs, you could keep more money in your bank account.

It's essential to factor the cost of public transit into your monthly budget -- just like you would other living expenses. Are you wondering how expensive a monthly transit pass is? It varies depending on where you live. Find out how much a monthly transit pass costs in six major U.S. cities.

1. New York City

New York City, perhaps one of the most public-transit-friendly cities in the United States, offers a 30-day unlimited transit pass for $127. With this pass, you get unlimited swipes on local buses and the subway. The per-ride cost is $2.75. So if you ride local buses or the subway multiple times daily, investing in an unlimited pass is worthwhile.

2. Chicago

Next up on our list is Chicago. You can buy a 30-day Chicago Transit Authority pass for $75. This pass allows you to take unlimited rides on CTA buses and trains. Without a pass, you'll pay $2.25 per ride to take a bus or $2.50 per ride to ride a train -- which can add up quickly.

3. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is another city with a good public transportation system. If you use public transit frequently in the City of Brotherly Love, getting a monthly transit ride is a good money move to make.

A monthly SEPTA TransPass is available for $96. You can use this pass to ride the bus, trolley, subway, or Norristown High-Speed Line. While it's not an unlimited swipe pass, it's valid for up to 240 rides each month.

4. San Francisco

San Francisco is another U.S. city with plentiful public transit. The San Francisco Muni system has buses, light rail metro trains, street cars, and cable cars. You'll pay either $81 or $98 for an adult monthly unlimited pass. Here's how the prices break down:

  • The Clipper M Pass offers unlimited rides on the Muni system for $81.
  • The Clipper A Pass offers unlimited rides on the Muni system and the BART system (within San Francisco) for $98.

5. Minneapolis

Minneapolis also has a convenient public transportation system. The city's public transit company, Metro Transit, has several 31-day unlimited passes available depending on your needs and travel habits.

Here is a breakdown of available passes and prices:

  • $65: This 31-day pass offers unlimited rides on local buses and metro lines during non-rush hours.
  • $90: This 31-day pass offers unlimited rides on local buses and metro lines during rush hours and Express buses during non-rush hours.
  • $120: This 31-day pass offers unlimited rides on buses and metro lines at all times and unlimited rides on Express buses during rush hours.

6. Los Angeles

Living in Los Angeles comes at a high cost. But the good news is that the city has reliable public transportation. Currently, Los Angeles Metro Rail passes are 50% off through 2022:

  • You can buy a 30-day unlimited metro rail pass for $50. Usually, this pass costs $100.
  • You can buy a 30-day unlimited bus and rail ride pass (including J Line and Express Bus lines) for $61. Usually, this pass costs $122.

Should you move to a city with better public transit?

Not all cities have good public transit systems, but some do. Moving to a different city could be an option if you're hoping to rely on your own car less often.

If you want to move to a new city and want to utilize the public transportation system, be sure to research your options first. Take a look at the availability of buses, trams, and rail lines and ensure that you'll be able to get where you need to go via the system. It's also a good idea to figure out if it makes sense to invest in a monthly transit pass instead of paying the per-ride price.

If you plan to use public transit most days, investing in a monthly pass is likely a good choice. Otherwise, you may pay more than you need to throughout the month.

Are you looking for tips and tricks to save money in your daily life? Check out our personal finance resources for guidance.

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