Commuting to work by car can be a breeze for some folks, and a long drawn out process for others. Nobody I know likes to spend a lot of time commuting, as it’s time you could be spending doing other things. It’s not easy or safe to multitask while driving anyway! Additionally, it the financial costs of commuting can add up too.
When looking at it from a financial perspective, it’s great to have a short commute to work. If you take public transportation, the time factor might still be there but there are other ways you’ll be saving. Let’s take a look at my commute lately, and see how this might come into play.
First off, this latest assignment I’m working on has me commuting to Downtown Chicago, from the suburbs. Being the 3rd largest city and metropolitan area in the country, and the primary business hub between the coasts, it can get hectic getting to downtown during rush hour. Thus, I take the train.
To get to the train, I have to drive about 15 minutes. The train ride is about 45 minutes. Then, I walk another 15 minutes when I get downtown. So, by a combination of car, train, and walking – it takes 75 minutes to get to work.
The other alternative is driving straight there. A few people have mentioned to me, sounds a lot better – especially after I talk about how I have to do some walking! Well, I get what they’re saying, as it might sound like a tough grind to many people, especially those in smaller cities. Admittedly, it is a grind! But, this is the deal, and we have to find the best solution for our present circumstances, right?
Along those lines, I’ll go with the public transportation route. Here are 5 reasons to choose public transportation instead of driving:
- Multitasking. When driving, you have to focus on the road. No texting, no tweeting, or anything of the like. Just drive and pay attention to the traffic around you, for your safety and that of others. When on the train for those 45 minutes, I can multitask. If I have work to do, this is a good time to get a few things done. Or, I can catch up on some reading, email, or other activities. It’s a better return on investment when it comes to time.
- Reliability. Public transportation generally follows fairly reliable schedules and timings, at least with commuter trains around here. While there’s no flexibility up front if you’re in a hurry (they don’t wait for you!), you have some predictability around when you’ll reach your destination. With driving, you don’t have that. Time is money
- Saving on Gas. We talked about this recently here, how there are ways to save money on gas for your car. One way is to drive less! In my case, it would probably cost $10 round trip to get to work, based on today’s prices. When stopping to fill gas at the station so frequently, your credit cards get a good workout with all the money that’s being spent. Conversely, taking the train comes out to $7.50 per day, plus some gas to get to the station (which I didn’t consider before). Overall, I still think it’s probably cheaper to take the train.
- Insurance Costs. If you have a long commute to work or do a lot of daily driving, you could be paying more for insurance. You might be able to save on car insurance by taking public transportation and driving significantly less. If you consider your driving “commute” to be taking your car to public transportation, this could mean a ton less driving.
- Wear and Tear. When driving, those miles can add up. Cars don’t run forever, and at a certain mileage level they need to have things worked on. For example, periodic oil changes. Additionally, at some point, the car has an estimated useful life – just like many other machines. By driving, we’re accelerating spending on maintenance as well as the end of our car’s useful life. This means spending more money. While daily spending might be incremental, it can add up over the long haul! Plus, there is wear and tear on us mentally and physically when driving, even if not perceptible. After all, we are really making life or death decisions all the time when driving!
My Questions for You
If public transportation is an option for you, do you take it? Why or why not?
If it isn’t an option, would you prefer that it was?
Can you think of any other reasons as to why public transportation is a good choice?