We made it to paradise! And we have furniture! And food! And it is crazy and wonderful!
We live somewhere between 6 and 7 miles away from my work.
DH is in charge of getting the kids to their respective schools and back (daycare is a 7 min walk or a 2 min drive, elementary school we’ll figure out once it starts). We’ve only got the one car and parking at the university is pretty expensive anyway. So the car is not really an option.
Sadly I am not cool enough to get any commuter discounts from the university– those are saved for actual hard money employees.
Google maps is amazing these days and has all sorts of great information about commuting paths other than driving. My three options are: 1. Bus, 2. light-rail (subway/elevated/etc.), 3. Bike.
The cross-street of the busy street that we’re on goes straight to the university.
Normally I hate taking buses because I hate having to make multiple changes, particularly when I have to keep my eye out to request a stop. However, because the university is on the same street as my house, just 6 or 7 miles away, it’s only one bus if I take the regular slow bus. There’s also a limited stops option that goes faster, but it is a longer walk from my house and the only university stop is the light rail station which is a 30 min walk from where I work. I don’t like the way I have to pay attention on a bus so I don’t miss my stop, and I get a bit queasy when it comes to reading on a motor vehicle.
I like trains because they stop at every stop without you having to think about it and they usually don’t have to compete with traffic. That dedicated rail is nice, especially during rush hour. Unfortunately we don’t live that close to a subway stop (it’s doable, but it’s a trek) and my work is not located very close to the Uni stop either. There is a bus I can take from the rail closer to my work, but if I’m going to do that, I might as well just take the bus from my house.
Mr. Money Moustache would insist that I bike. And I’m going to get a bike and I’m going to look into this, but a 6-7 mile bike ride is not something I can jump into given I haven’t ridden a bike in I dunno, 15 years. I was reading about bike commuting online and they were going on and on about all the things you need to buy once your commute is longer than 2 miles, and I found it scary. DH says I can work up to it. There’s also a problem that the direct route doesn’t have a bike lane, so a safer commute is a much more complicated commute and I am very bad at directions (she really, really is –#2). Another problem that I’m sure I can get over is where to store the bike at work– my office is on the third floor and I’ve been warned about taking the elevators without my cellphone on hand as they tend to break pretty regularly. I will probably just take my chances locking it up outside. (#2 says, you are in a place that probably has TONS of bikes outside, I’d lock it outside your building in the racks without a second thought. No problem. And you’ll be getting a cheap-ish used bike anyway, right? Just make sure it fits.)
In terms of time: the regular bus is around 45 min, give or take, the limited bus is ~55 min, the train is ~55 min, biking is 32-35 min, and driving is 35 min (traffic is pretty nasty and there are a lot of lights).
What am I doing? Well, right now I’m taking the regular bus. I tried the limited bus and decided Google was right and it’s definitely slower. Biking looks so appealing on Google– so simple for that little stick figure bike and so much faster than for the little bus or the little train. I really do want to bike, but I’m just a tiny bit terrified, mainly of getting lost more than anything else. Once I get a smartphone with a map application, I assume it will be a lot less terrifying, though things like “bike gloves” and “padded seats” are still pretty intimidating. #2 recommends the padded seat for sure, based on my own experience (OW!), but you don’t need gloves. You just need a helmet, sunglasses, sunblock, and maybe one of those straps to keep your pants out of the chain (or just stuff your pants leg into your sock). That’s it.
How do you get to work, and what are your options (do you even have options)? How did you decide what to do?