Oct 10

Why Public Transit Benefits Everyone

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 8:09 AM by Brooke Kochanski


It goes without saying that public transit is very near and dear to our hearts at the PART Agency. While it’s not our only activity managed here at PART, it takes up a large portion of our efforts and attention. For many who use our PART Express bus routes or Vanpool program on a daily basis, we are an integral connection to other parts of the Piedmont Triad community. Many of these riders understand the benefit that public transit can play in our lives because they live that reality every day.

But for people who have never utilized PART services, or any other public transportation service; they may struggle to recognize the benefits of a public transit system that doesn’t directly impact their lives. More specifically, when the issue of using federal, state and local funds (i.e. your tax dollars) comes into question.

So in order to expand the knowledge of how important and beneficial public transit can be for a community like the Piedmont Triad, we’ll start by breaking the equation down into two key parts: 1) the financial benefits to riders, and 2) the short and long-term economic impacts on the region as a whole.

Using PART can result in any number of savings for our riders. To begin, there is the amount of money you save on fuel costs even if you only take the bus once or twice a week — especially for longer distance commuters. We have been fortunate to enjoy lower gas prices in the past few years, but there is no control in managing the price of fuel at a global level, or how long those prices will remain low.  Based on AAA statistics it cost 46.4 – 61 cents per mile to operate your personal vehicle.  Compare that to the cost of a single ride bus fare, and you can immediately see the cost savings.

Public transit allows you to greatly reduce the overall wear-and-tear on your vehicle. Driving a automobile to and from work 5 days a week — with all of the starts and stops, turns, and mixed road conditions that exist — can exert quite a toll on your vehicle. When you use public transit to take those daily work trips, you are extending the overall life of your vehicle, as well as increasing the length of time between costly oil changes, repairs, and needed tires.

Another recurring cost that is usually overlooked is the price for insurance premiums and parking fees.  And though many of these costs may seem nominal, when taken as a whole, you are likely spending more on your daily commute using a car than you might think.

(Want to find out just how much? Check out our free Commute Calculator to see exactly how much you could be saving by using PART Express or Vanpool.)

So this much is clear: riding public transit can save you money. And most people like to save money. But how does that benefit the economy at large?

Simply put, every dollar saved by a public transit rider is another dollar that can be put back into the economy. If you’re saving $150 every month on commuting, that’s a $150 extra dollars that you may use to go out to a nice dinner, take your family to the movies, or go shopping at your favorite boutique. This sets in motion what our Executive Director Scott Rhine refers to as “economic cycle”:

“The economy — whether that’s here in the Triad, statewide or nationally — is stronger when a dollar has more opportunities to cycle between businesses,” he says. “As a society we strive to become financially stable, and with every new opportunity to save money; our savings open up new ventures on how we spend money.  Call it the vacation we have only dreamed of, or becoming a home owner versus home renter.  The money we can save by utilizing public transit yields an economic benefit for the cycle of our dollars we now spend for what was not there before.” Rhine explains.

This reality underscores the notion that even people who don’t ride public transit benefit from the service. The savings it generates for its riders mean there is more money to be put into other businesses, and all of society can feel the effect of the overall yield in savings.

The connection between public transit investments and their economic benefits is so strong in fact, that
a study by the American Public Transportation Association found that for every $1 spent on public transit, there are approximately $4 generated in economic returns.

In addition to the economic benefits, there are also health benefits not to be overlooked. In 2018, PART helped remove around 1,900 cars a day from our roadways; which equates to over 20 Million miles of single occupancy travel in our region.  Helping to reduce congestion, and the traffic congestion frustration we all experience. A stressful commute has been found to cause anxiety and even impact your blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to be a leading contributor to heart disease; one of the top three causes of death for adults in the United States.  

Improvements in our local air quality are also a huge benefit of public transportation.
Studies have shown that bus systems like PART Express “emit only 20% as much carbon monoxide per passenger mile as compared to a single-occupant auto.” Those reductions can go a long way towards reducing illnesses associated with polluted airways, such as chronic bronchitis, increased asthma complications and more.

For both riders and non-riders alike, the benefits of a robust public transportation system can do wonders for our collective lives. From the economic benefits both big and small, down to improved mental and physical health due to better, less polluted roadways, public transit isn’t just about moving people from one location to the next. It’s a vital piece of a larger mobility network, and the more we invest into it, the greater our communities will be.

PART has been connecting communities in the Piedmont Triad since September of 2002. For the past 17 years we’ve been dedicated to serving the community with quality transportation that enhances our region. Visit our
About Us section to learn more about PART and our history. We would invite you to join our email list to keep up with What’s Happening at PART, simply email contactus@partnc.org to join.


Sep 10

4 Ways TouchPass Makes Riding PART Easier

Posted on September 10, 2019 at 8:10 AM by Brooke Kochanski

Earlier this year, PART implemented TouchPass Mobile and Smartcard Ticketing – two new digital payment methods designed to make the commuting process easier and more convenient. Now, we’re taking a look at four of the ways this new electronic ticketing system makes riding PART a simpler experience.

1. It’s Easier Than Ever to Get A Pass

By simply setting up your mobile or online account, you can purchase and re-load your passes or stored value anytime anywhere. Even while you’re on the bus. Did we mention all our buses have WiFi? You can even set your account up to auto-load automatically and never worry about whether you have a pass or funds available!

2. It Speeds Up the Boarding Process

Even though most PART riders are total pros about having their passes or change ready, when there’s a newbie in the mix or just a lot of riders, it can take a while for everyone to board. Luckily, TouchPass helps eliminate the wait. One quick scan of your TouchPass App’s QR code or tap of your reloadable Smartcard and you are ready to ride!

3. It is Easier to Keep Track Of

With Touchpass Mobile and Smartcard ticketing, you can officially say goodbye to the inconvenience of losing money on lost cards, carrying cash and counting out exact change. Once you’re registered, the electronic system automatically keeps track of your trips and payment history and ensures that your passes and stored value are safe, even if you misplace your Smartcard or change mobile phones. It also manages your transfers, eliminating the need to get a paper transfer from bus drivers. Now everything you need to ride PART is in one safe, easily accessible place!  

4. It Saves You Money

If you still aren’t convinced that TouchPass is making riding PART easier, this is sure to win you over: by using TouchPass, you can save money on your commute! When you use stored value through the TouchPass system, you are eligible for the PART Rewards Program – an initiative that uses fare capping to save you money when you ride daily and monthly. The system tracks how much you spend and will your account once you have spent $5 per day or $80 per month. You will not have to pay for any additional trips the rest of that day or month, no matter how many times you ride. The implementation of fare capping is predicted to save the average daily rider at least $25 per month!

So what are you waiting for? Visit partnc.org/touchpass to see for yourself how riding with PART just got even easier.

Jul 17

Ride Often & Save More with the PART Rewards Program

Posted on July 17, 2019 at 8:35 AM by Brooke Kochanski

We are constantly striving to enhance our PART Express service through programs like our new TouchPass Mobile & Smartcard system. This simple and convenient system makes it easier than ever to purchase passes and ride with just a scan or a tap. But that’s not all this new technology can do!

We are excited to introduce our PART Rewards Program!

PART Rewards uses a process known as fare capping. While it is a little complicated to explain, the concept is simple. When you ride using TouchPass, the system counts every time you pay. Once you have reached our daily or monthly maximums, your TouchPass account gets capped and you won’t continue to pay when you ride.

Here’s how it works:

  • Load stored value (money) into your TouchPass account—you can load anywhere from $5 to $100 at a time as frequently as you’d like.
  • As you ride, the TouchPass system will automatically deduct money from your TouchPass account for each trip. (Transfers are still free!)
  • Once a daily rider has ridden two times in one day and paid a total of $5 ($2.50 for our discount riders), the TouchPass system will let you ride fare-free for the rest of the day.
  • Once a rider has ridden 32 times in a single calendar month and paid a total of $80 ($40 for discount riders), the TouchPass system will let you ride fare-free for the rest of the month.

For daily riders, this means that whether you ride three times or ten times in a day, you won’t pay more than $5! And for someone who rides to and from work every day, after 16 days, you won’t pay anymore to ride that month!

The PART Rewards Program is only available to passengers that use Stored Value through the TouchPass system because the technology automatically counts your total number of payments to confirm when you’ve hit your “cap.”

Don’t forget to make sure your TouchPass account is fully set up and registered in order to take advantage of the PART Rewards Program.

Once you do, you can begin enjoying these benefits immediately!

To learn more about PART Rewards, visit this link or call 336-883-7278.