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Cost of moving: Good cities for public transportation

New York has the best public transportation system in the country, according to a recent survey.

New York has the best public transportation system in the country, according to a recent survey.

Does anyone really love public transportation? There are studies galore that show it helps cut down on pollution. Many people swear it gets them to work in the morning faster than driving. But when you find yourself crammed into a metal tube with 100 strangers at 8:00 a.m. before you've even had a chance to get a cup of coffee in, you sometimes can't help but wonder why so many people are so enthusiastic about public transportation.

Its faults and foibles aside, millions of Americans rely on the bus, subway or commuter train to get them where they need to go every day, and for many of those people, the benefits vastly outweigh the drawbacks. You can save money on car insurance, gas and auto repairs. Plus, you'll be able to read or work while you travel. So for those who place a premium on a good public transportation system when picking a new place to live, consider this list of of the top transit cities in the country.

The two metropolitan areas at the top of a recent public transportation ranking from healthy commuting advocates Walk Score couldn't be further apart, geographically speaking, but they both have something in common. New York City and San Francisco are the most expensive places to live in the continental United States. A recent listing by finance and investing firm Kiplinger rated the cities No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, for highest cost of living. (San Francisco was beaten out by Honolulu for the No. 2 position.)

Still, the cities appear to have it right when it comes to public transportation, which could be an incentive for Americans who are thinking of packing up and moving to either of the coastal metropolises. A recent report from the American Public Transportation Association shows New Yorkers could save up to $14,755 each year by ditching their cars and using public transportation, while San Franciscans could save $13,339. That would be almost enough to afford rent in either city.

If you are moving within a city, you might not want to bring all of your belongings on the subway, no matter how highly it ranks on the Walk Score list. And even though you might just be going a few blocks, it could still be worth your while to hire a moving company to help out. After all the money you've saved by taking the bus, you've earned it.