Money Minute: Americans Flock to Mass Transit; Bull Market Charges On

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Americans are flocking to public transportation like never before.

Commuters are leaving their cars at home and using trains, buses and subways at record levels. The American Public Transportation Association says we took 10.6 billion trips on public transit last year, the most since the group starting keeping track in 1956.

Usually, transit ridership jumps along with the price of gasoline, but this increase came as gas prices actually declined. Use of public transit rose among young riders, especially in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix, but the biggest gains came in smaller cities.

The bull market on Wall Street enters its sixth year today. History says five years is a long run, but this bull could be built for marathon running.
Many market pros say the slowly improving economy should carry stocks to more gains this year, even though they're likely to be much more modest than the 30 percent surge we saw last year.

Since hitting bottom March 9, 2009, the the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) has rallied 178 percent, and a key measure of small stocks has done even better. The Russell 2000 (^RUT) soared 251 percent.

The S&P 500 starts the week at a record high. It gained 1 percent last week. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC posted modest gains.

AT&T (T) is again lowering prices on its wireless plans. You can get unlimited calls and texts, along with 2 gigabytes of data, for $65 a month. That's down $15 from the current plan. But -- and there's always a but -- you have to use your existing phone or buy a new one at full price. T-Mobile US (TMUS) started the latest price war, but it is now raising prices by $10 a month.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that even though some plans are coming down in cost, our overall phone bills are going up as more and more people switch to smartphones and increasingly use wireless Internet.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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Cherry Chen

Just know that the decline of the automobile industry will hurt the economy in more ways than one.
A lot of people are complaining about the cost of gas and insurance and citing those as reasons why they don't drive. It's actually more expensive to live in a big city like SF and NYC and use public transit than it is to live in the burbs and drive. (And it's safer in the burbs too).
For gas - use GasBuddy app. You can fill up your tank for like $20.
For insurance - use 4AutoInsuranceQuote or Insurance Panda... i've found full coverage car insurance there for $25/month.

Just know that if you live in NYC, for example, you will pay $3000 to rent a one bedroom, have to pay the New York City tax, pay outrageous amounts for groceries, and on top of that, still have to pay $100/month to use the subway or bus (MTA card). If you live in Long Island or Upstate, you can rent a room for $1000/month, drive, and be much more comfortable.

March 11 2014 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The cheapest gas vehicles we had were the motor bikes and go carts that ran for hours on a gallon of regular or less. No expensive batteries most of the small vehicles were rope start, recoil start, or push start! Unfortunatley the 20" 3- spead wheel from a Columbia stingRay couldn't handle the torque from a small 2 hp Clinton Cast Iron engine so the white metal gears crumbled. Lucky we found a standard bicycle wheel with the coaster brake to compliment the handlebar throttle so we could immitate the movie "Easy Rider" when it came out. Fonda made a lot of money but us kids had more fun!

March 10 2014 at 6:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shmtnmusic

It's also a bad thing. Many young people and those without a job or low paying jobs can not afford the price of a car, gasoline, repairs and the insurance on top of everything else, so they are subsisting on public transportation. On top of the expense of the car, the same young workers are now required to subsidize older peoples health care costs. The people or person who thought that was a good idea needs to have their head examined.

March 10 2014 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shmtnmusic's comment
emoore2927

Its not fair that the average person bears the costs of the young invincibles and risk takers who forego buying health insurance so they can buy a car or any other luxuary. These young people will eventually get sick, injured, pregnant and end up in the hospital with a huge bill that will eventually be written off costing all of us in the long run. Let them take some responsibility even if it is mandated and purchase the insurance they need.

March 10 2014 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

A barrel of oil is refined into different products besides grades of gasoline however what you get at the pump is dilluted with ethanol ect thanks to political pay to play deals! Some vehicle manufacturers warn against using some of these additives. Instead of calling some things green jobs call it what it really is green for outsourcers of American jobs!

March 10 2014 at 5:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ohmk3

that is less than 36 trips per year per American. Not too impressive when you do the math.

March 10 2014 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whiteoak

Kind of hard to do out here in the boonies,,,,closest bus sopis 10 miles away and then it takes an hour to go 5 miles

March 10 2014 at 4:47 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to whiteoak's comment
Iselin007

Lately there has been too many bus and train accidents over these last couple of years making public transportation a risky way to get around. Thanks to the increase in cell phones and other devices any powered vehicle has become a weapon of destruction.

March 10 2014 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Expect cost to go up on mass and private transportation thanks to a crumbling infrastructure that depends on road and bridge replacement. The unusally harsh winter has taken a toll on the transportation infrastructure. Just filling in potholes can't save the structures underneath streets and roads built 100 or so years ago! Old pipes for sewers, water runoff, gas, or in some places steam or electric are in dire need of replacement. Sometimes when there is a water main break you see roads collapse exposing the old brick and pipes cracked and worse!

March 10 2014 at 4:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mily469

in gary Indiana the refineries have been getting tar sands oil from a pipeline for a while. piles of pet coke are all over. and the area has the highest gas pump prices in America. of course public transportation is taking off.

March 10 2014 at 4:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mily469's comment
Iselin007

I think the Industry just wants to fix the price of oil to reward the 1%. If they discovered more higher yield oil fields in overabundance the prices would still rise.

March 10 2014 at 4:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Eventually if mass transportation cuts into the gas tax profits use for road and other repairs as is claimed against owners of Electric and Hybrid vehicles the public transportation fares will rise.

My Hybrid weighed less than 2,000 lbs and got over 50 to 60 plus mph and saved over 2/3 on gas purchases. The real costs was that the Hybrid would suck up every stone that was kicked from another vehicles tires as the stones seemed to follow the air flow that streamed across the vehicle. The car being low to the ground the stones apparently got an extra lift to them where by they crazed the hood and windshield as they entered the air stream.

March 10 2014 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Maybe if low income and the jobless got free transportation the government would make sure they caused some real job creation. If the goverment had to pay those hurt by the sorry arse trade deals they would of been voided out long ago.

March 10 2014 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply