Friday, June 20, 2008

Why I drive to work

As environmentally conscious as I'd like to be, there is a darned good reason why I drive myself to work every day instead of using public transportation. It would be silly for me to ride the bus.

I was playing around on Bistate's TripFinder to see what my options could be if I chose to not drive. I won't post my exact results (with bus #'s and times), in the interest of keeping my house and my specific job location to myself. Let's just say that I live and work on the north/west side of St. Louis County. But let me compare a few points:

Distance from my house to work via car, according to Yahoo Maps: 11.27 miles, 20 mins
Distance from my house to work via Metro (the best option listed): 11.98 miles, 1h 17 minutes

That's an HOUR difference in commute time. Yikes, for that kind of time I could move out to the middle of nowhere, buy a huge mansion with several acres of gardening space, and still save $ on my mortgage!

Just for fun, I also calculated how long it would take me to get downtown from here. Turns out, I'd be better off working for the Cards:

Distance from my house to Busch Stadium via Metro (the best option listed): 16.83 miles, 59 minutes travelling time

Note that my car gets around 25 mpg, which at $4/gallon comes to about $2 each way to work. Normal metrobus fares with transfers (without purchasing a monthly pass) is $2.25. With the $60 monthly pass, that's about $3.50 a day given my current work schedule. Sure, there's other wear and tear on my car, but my mileage and maintenance needs are low so far (my car's 5 years old, at about 40k miles, and has only needed routine maintenance + hail damage repairs).

This trip doesn't take the kids into consiseration at all--I would probably double my travel time to get them to or from daycare (assuming I could arrive or depart while daycares' even open!).

If I were actually looking to get rid of my commute, there are people I could attempt to carpool with (including my husband). But that makes it impossible to pick up a sick kid from school, or to allow for any flexibility in my workday.

So, for now I drive.


Lance said...

I've gone through the same exercise myself - it would add about an hour each way for me to take public transportation. And that assumes I don't miss any connections.

I also tried to check it out with the option of biking for part of the way (you can change the assumed walking speed to be appropriate for biking). It added one more option, but that option would involve my riding my bike on Lindbergh through the tunnell under the airport. No thanks.

So, I drive.

Kristi said...

I have the same issue with biking...along the same stretch of road (alternative routes are worse).
For a previous job I worked in downtown Chicago on and off, and either walked or rode the El to and from work (depending on the weather). I loved it ('course, I was never there in the dead of winter for more than a day at a time). I met folks there who had never owned a car and were aghast at my insitence that you can't live in St. Louis without one. Well, you can, but it's not the same at all.