Author Topic: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station  (Read 3281 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« on: May 13, 2015, 01:50:20 PM »

I currently live in the Far Northwest Suburbs of Chicago (Think 40 miles out) and 8 miles from the train station.
I am currently without a car and need a way to get to the train station in the short term. (Until I can either move closer to work or work closer to home)

I have the desire to bike, but I had a mini panic attack thinking about everything that I was not prepared for, so I would love if somebody could offer some advice on what you would do in my situation.

1. Time - I would be adding an hour onto a daily 3-4 hour commute that I already have
2. Inclement Weather - I'm worried about water damage to my laptop that I need to use on the train on my way to work. Also, I need to be dressed business professional from the moment I walk in the door at work. So leaving clothes in the office isn't really an option.
3. Route - The route I would need to take would be a little worrisome considering I get home in the dark

I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and buy a crappy car (can't be anything really nice since my hair is currently on fire with student loans), or if there is some type of enclosed scooter/alternative enclosed vehicle that I could find, or if there is just some gear that I am overlooking.

What would you do? Any thoughts, advice, ideas are greatly appreciated.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2015, 02:10:19 PM »
Can you move now?

Think about a crappy car that's the equivalent of a scooter - Geo Metro, Ford Festiva (I love both of those cars, though!)

If you want to bike, I do it in the rain in my work clothes using a rain poncho (cost: $40 for a bike specific one), bike with fenders (do you already have one? Cheap fenders are $30), and change shoes when I get to my destination. Plastic bag to keep everything dry, although you could buy a rainproof pannier ($50?).


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2015, 02:22:27 PM »
Not all cheap cars are crappy (and not all crappy cars are cheap!).  Something like a Metro could be perfect.  I have a somewhat-beat-up-but-nowhere-near-falling-apart '99 I found a bit over a year ago for a grand and my all-in (gas, insurance, maintenance, repairs, estimated minimal depreciation) cost has been about $0.17/mile over about 21,000 miles.  43MPG without hypermiling and with a worn engine (stronger engine with hypermiling could break 50MPG easily in one of these cars), minimal features (so nothing stupid breaks), and maintenance parts are stupid-cheap.

Would add about $80/month to your commuting on top of the train.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 02:38:09 PM »
1) I would move or get another job. 3-4 hour commute is just absolutely unacceptable.

2) Seems to me you have completely ruled out biking. Which means if you can't do 1) you need a small used car.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2015, 05:18:20 PM »
At least you can get work done on the train, that or relax and enjoy a book.  A bike would also provide exercise - if you think of it as a workout, you're not wasting time at all!  In a car you would be driving for hours, stressed out by traffic and unable to do anything but drive (and perhaps listen to an audiobook).  Regarding your concerns I have a similar situation - take yesterday for example.  It was a rainy day so I made sure to pack extra socks and underwear into my dry bag (could be saddle or backpack style), changed in a bathroom near work (could you change on the train?), walked the last 1/8 mile and started my work day.  On the ride in and back it was a little dark so I turned on my LED blinkers on my white helmet as well as the bike.  My jacket is yellow with reflectors - I'm pretty hard to NOT see.  If you have a REI store in the area, you can hit up their anniversary sale and get all the gear you're missing 30% off.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2015, 07:14:37 PM »
have you checked car/vanpool sites?  New routes pop up all the time and there are plenty of other people doing the same thing.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2015, 10:45:05 PM »
I was going to suggest carpooling too.

Or maybe a bus route - pretty likely there's a bus stop by the train station. I've found the worst part of bus riding is when you have to transfer bus lines. The city doesn't seem to coordinate the schedules of intersecting buses well. But if you can stay on one route, it might not take too long.

Or how about Uber? You'd have to cost out how much an 8 mile ride both ways would be, or if they have customer loyalty discounts if you use them a bunch.

There's also Zipcar if your city has it.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 08:09:45 AM »
I'm in the western suburbs of Chicago, similar situation though. Do you have PACE out by you? If so, look into it.

You really need to move closer if you work downtown. That's a ridiculous commute. Mine is bad enough, yours is worse. I have no idea how you survive that. What's preventing you from moving?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 8 Mile Commute To Train Station
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2015, 10:00:22 PM »
You need to move or change jobs. your current commute is a hole you will never dig yourself out of.