Thursday, April 17, 2008

Advantages of commuting by bus

It's been over an year now since I have been commuting by bus to work and back home. Many friends wonder why I kill myself going by bus. To the contrary, it has the following advantages:
  1. The bus stop is 10 minutes away from home. So, that's 20 minutes of exercise daily walking to and from the bus stop. The bus drops me and picks me up right in front of my work place so I don't end up walking too much.
  2. It saves gas - around 26 miles each day roundtrip and my car gives 20 miles per gallon. At $3.5 per gallon, that comes to around $100 per month. The monthly bus pass costs $60 and my company reimburses $30. So that's a net savings of $70 per month (or ~$800 per year) on gas alone, not counting other benefits like mileage savings, fewer repairs on the car.
  3. It is an express bus that makes few stops, and goes on the carpool lane to reach in 30 minutes (plus the 10 min walk to the bus stop). Nothing to complain on the speed. Going by car during the peak hour takes 40 minutes, if I don't carpool, so time difference is a wash. However, if I can find a viable carpool partner, that can bring time savings and similar advantages.
  4. No stress of driving - who likes to drive in peak hour?
  5. Contributes to efforts on preventing global warming. Makes Al Gore happy, and that could come in handy some day.
  6. Allows me to keep just one car for the family. My wife uses it to get the kids to school and run errands. Else, I'll be forced to buy another car at some point, and pay loan interest, insurance and gas for another car as well.
  7. Better work-life balance. My boss was single and used to spend longer hours after 5pm discussing work stuff, expecting me to stick around. The excuse of having to catch the bus imposes a hard stop (company policy encourages using public transport anyways), and forces a better work-life schedule.
Given all this, I have always wondered the following. I have heard some extremist organization called Earth liberation front scratches gas guzzlers like minivans and SUVs in parking lots or wherever they can get their hands on. How would they treat my mini-van, if they see it secluded? Since I actually use it little, I think I should be exempt. How will they know that someone who has a minivan or SUV can actually be responsible and contributing to the environment in other ways?

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