Thursday, September 25, 2008

commuter dillemma.

as you probably already know, i ride my bike to work. i've got to say, it's definitely high up there on my "things that attribute to my high quality of life" list (post pending, for a bad day). on occasion though, i will ride the bus in, or even bring my car to work (esp when i have an urgent appointment after work, ie, the airport...but in most cases i still ride the bike to/from work, then grab my car). all in all, i'm a big fan of mass transit, but am frustrated by all the supposed "trial barriers" non-urban people cite to not adopt it in their daily routine.

a few weeks ago, when choosing to ride the bus in (it had been quite a few months), i was surprised to find that busfare had gone up from $1 to $1.50 (when the bus driver called me back to the front of the bus to finish paying my fare). as with many things, this is a clear indicator of:

(1) my age/the many years i've been a supporter of the bus/living in cincinnati, and
(2) inflation, though other, more notable indicators for me are
-comics (when i started collecting in '85, they were just $0.75, they now average $3!) -stamps (i remember them being $0.25, they are now nearing $0.50).

usually when i tell people i ride my bike to work, they ask "even in the winter/snow" - to which i respond, "no stupid, for those painfully long/dreary months of the year i opt to take the bus"

ANYHOW. this morning, while riding my bike down the hill, i was contemplating what i would do this coming winter. continue to take the bus (which is now more expensive), or (gasp!) drive to work. here's my math:

-office days in month (accounting for out of office/travel days) : 20
-bus fare: $1.50 each way, so $3/day

-distance to work: 2 miles, so 4 miles roundtrip
-parking pass: $50
-government mileage rate: $0.50 1/2 (for gas + wear/tear on car)


-raman RIDES BUS: $60 =
20 days * $3 bus fare

-raman DRIVES CAR: $90
= (4 mi/day * 20 days * $0.50/mi) + $50 parking


-convenience (car)
-carbon footprint (bus)

-freezing outside every morning walking to/from stop + waiting
-exercise from walking everyday (bus)
-time spent outside wiping snow/ice off car in AM
-keeping an awesome parking space in front of my house
-time spent on bus reading/working (bus)
-commute time to work (car)
-interaction/people watching on bus (bus)
-keeping awesome parking space in front of my house
-taking my parking pass back from josh

while it looks like the bus clearly wins ($30/month cheaper...the cost of 10 comics, roughly my monthly intake/habit), it still feels like a draw in my mind. what do you think? weigh in!

and more importantly, have you run this analysis on YOUR commute?


  1. Where do you get the parking pass if you drive your car? I think you should take the bus :P

  2. The dilemma is pretty easy for me. Rachel and I carpool most days and use the parking pass (effectively reducing my cost by 50%). As she refuses to ride the bus, I see this as getting a free ride (given that she would drive anyway).

    HOWEVER, if we have different travel plans for the day, I ride the bus whenever possible. Compared to a 15 mile commute each way + parking, a $4 dollar round trip bus ride is definitely a winner and highly convenient. Plus, I can let someone else do the driving while I read or listen to my ipod.

  3. Anonymous4:27 AM

    Hey, look at that! They have a bus route that goes to Sharon Woods now!

    Oh wait. I'd have to get to work at 9:15 and have a hardstop at 4:45 (there is only one bus on the route). That would not work most days.

    If they had more than one bus, I'd move so I could take it. It would be a 2 hr commute each way now versus 15 min. by car. $4.50 a day for bus versus $7.00 with free parking by car.

    I do ride downtown for work when I can. I can get there before 8:30. Earlier than that I need to drive to a bus stop a bit over a mile away, which feels like it would ruin the point.


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