People who ride public transportation tend to have lower incomes than those who commute by car, but not here and in a few other places around the country.
The publication Atlantic Cities slogged through 2010 American Community Survey data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau and found five metro areas, including Bremerton-Silverdale, where transit riders make a lot more. Here, the median income for those who use public transportation is $52,946 compared to $35,371 for those who drive.
It’s easy to see why. Kitsap Transit bus service is largely geared toward serving riders of Washington State Ferries and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard employees. That’s where the most demand is. People who ride ferries to the east side of Puget Sound for work generally make more than those who stay on this side. Shipyard workers also earn above-average pay. They could get to the yard in a half hour instead of an hour if they drove, but the bus ride is free. The federal government pays. Many prefer to ride the bus for nothing instead of driving in traffic, finding a parking spot, paying for parking and walking to their shops. The buses drop them off inside the shipyard.
Other metro areas where public transit riders earn more than car drivers are like Bremerton-Silverdale in that many people commute to bigger cities for high-paying jobs. They are Torrington Conn. ($82,431 vs. $41,450), Kingston, N.Y. ($60,748 vs. $35,289) and Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y. ($56,351 vs. $41,462).
Just the opposite is true in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Workers there travel away from the city. That’s because the Idaho National Laboratory, with 4,000 workers, is outside the town of Idaho Falls. The lab has its own fleet of 103 buses. They haul about 2,750 passengers to the site and back each day.