I've googled it but the antonym of mass-transit (or public transportation) are not amongst the hits I've got.

I can explain the meaning using a sentence but I'd like the correct term, a noun if possible.

"Going by car" doesn't suffice because buses are, technically speaking, cars too. "Private transportation" seems to be wrong, because it could be publicly available. "Individual-transit" excludes co-commuting, so it's not right, neither...

The context of my question is getting oneself to work, so commuting scope. Taxis, planes, helicopters, submarines and such are very rarely used for said purpose, so they can be excluded. Bicycles, skateboards, pogo sticks etc. are muscles driven and can be equated to walking which isn't within the scope of getting to work by other means than by "one's own machine".

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    And buses are not cars. – Drew Oct 11 '14 at 19:25
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    Hmmmm, commuting by submarine. "Get in, Wiggins, or it's the sack for you!" "But sir! I forgot my lunch at my house!" "So cry me a river--you're a half hour late! It's not like we can just honk or something. The closest thing we have are the tubes--and I doubt very much you'd appreciate a wakeup call from a cruise missile." – imallett Oct 12 '14 at 3:18
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    @KonradViltersten: As I said, private transport includes options that you excluded in your question. I don't think it is the right answer for your specific situation though it is the opposite of public transit in general. You can think of "own transportation" as a sub-type of it. You can even see this usage in job specifications or ads, as in "must have own transportation". – 0.. Oct 16 '14 at 4:23
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    Opposite' has lots of possibilities, and you've touched on some of them. What is the superset? Transportation in general? Commuting to work (just people, not goods)? By engine prpulsion? Mechanical propulsion? (I think it is #2). So your question might be more easily answerable if it were "What do you call all the alternatives together that are not called mass transit or public transportation?" (no need to exclude all the items you are referring to like walking or bicycles or taxis). – Mitch Oct 20 '14 at 13:30
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    Walking and bikes you do by yourself. They are conveyances. You may walk or bike next to someone, but it is still a conveyance that is by yourself. A car may go on a publicly funded system (the road system) but it is not what I put in the category of mass transit. If at some point in the future, we have a publicly funded tube system with personal tube vehicles all supplied by the state, then it becomes fuzzier, and you have to say does your set mean publicly funded or does it mean conveyance occupancy more than 1 (or 2 or whatever your threshold is). – Mitch Oct 20 '14 at 16:37

I think private transport is the best term here.

I guess you're right, private transport doesn't explicitly mean just cars (it also includes motorbikes and pushbikes). But by the same token, 'mass transit' doesn't mean just buses and trains, it can include trams, minibuses, ferries etc.

In Megacity, most workers use private transport to get to work.

Private transport leads to congestion and smog.

Mass transit is very popular in Utopolis, but citizens still use private transport for picnicing on Sundays.

  • Naturally, private transportation in American English. – choster Oct 12 '14 at 16:01

In my state, high-occupancy vehicles, holding two or more passengers, are permitted in a faster lane. "Single occupancy vehicles" crowd into the other lanes. The terminology is awkward. We have a sign HOV lane to distinguish for high-occupancy, but no corresponding singular.


If the context is to use mass transit as a noun rather than an adjective, then consider:

In Washington DC, people can use mass transit to commute to work. In Turtle Point Pennsylvania, people use private transportation.

I don't know if there is any difference between using mass transit and mass trasnportation.


Opposite of mass transit (public transit) is driving your own vehicle. Or in short, you can say own transportation. (and in case if you are not the driver and the driver is not a chauffeur)

For example, official website of British Columbia lists "driving your own vehicle" and "public transit" along with other transportation options for seniors under transportation section:

  • Driving Your Own Vehicle
  • Public Transit
  • Carpooling and Car Sharing
  • Taxis
  • Walking and Cycling
  • Ferries
  • Volunteer Driver Programs
  • Medical Travel Assistance

Though, it is simply mentioned as driving also in official transportation websites. It makes sense when it is listed along with other options including public transit.

Note: I didn't mention "private transport" because you eliminated it in your question. Also you were right that private transportation can be open to public but maybe not to everyone. For example, taxi is considered a private transportation.

The inquiry considers that taxis are not public transport. Taxis are a mode of private commercial transport that plays two key roles in the transport system: they are a complement to public transport and also an alternative to public transport.


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