Commuting Accounting

For many, it can be the most unpleasant part of the work day – the commute. It can take its toll in time, aggravation and money.

A Statistics Canada survey found that 29% of people who use the car to get to work hate their commute. For public transit users, the level of dissatisfaction is even higher, at 47%. The most satisfied with their commute are people who walk or cycle. But the more you like your job, the more likely you are to enjoy the commute as well.

Not surprisingly, the longer the commute, the less enjoyable it seems. So feel bad for the folks in Oshawa, Ont., who have the longest commutes (median distance) in Canada, with a round trip of 22 kilometres. For the shortest commutes, head to Victoria, B.C., or Regina, Sask., where the daily round trip is just 9.2 km.  

We calculated the commuting costs in three Canadian cities – Montreal, Toronto and Calgary – and compared the cost of getting around by car to that of public transit.

When you total gas, parking, insurance and maintenance and compare that to the cost of a transit pass, by taking public transportation instead of a car to work, you save a lot of money if not time. And that’s based on just the day-to-day operation of your vehicle, not including any payments you may be making on your car.

On average, taking the car saves commuters just seven minutes a day in Montreal and eight in Toronto. In Calgary, public transit is actually the quicker option, by 12 minutes a day.

Here’s how the costs add up.

CriteriaTorontoMontrealCalgary
Median Commuting Distance (Round Trip)18.2km16.2km16.4km
Gas Costs Per Year$329.74$301.50$288.19
Parking Costs Per Year$3,624$3,144$4,200
Insurance Costs Per Year$2,050$750$1,200
Tune-ups Costs Per Year$123.85$134.15$131.09
Total Car Costs Per Year$6,127.59$4,329,65$5,819.28
Transit Pass Costs Per Year$1,308$795$900
Annual Savings Of Using Transit$4,819.59$3,534.65$4,919.28
Time Of Communte By Car, Daily (Both Ways)85.3 mins77 mins84.9 mins
Time of Commute By Transit, Daiy (Both Ways)93.1 mins83.8 mins72.7 mins
Time Of Commute By Car, Yearly355 hours321 hours354 hours
Time Of Commute By Transit, Yearly388 hours349 hours303 hours

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