Author Topic: "carpool" vs subway debate  (Read 1771 times)

Runrooster

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"carpool" vs subway debate
« on: July 02, 2022, 06:33:00 PM »
I started a new job about 6 weeks ago, and when I was talking to my coworker the first day she realized that she drives within about 1.5 miles of my house.  She offered to drop me off (I took the subway in that day) in the evening and pick me up from my house in the morning.  Initially I thought I could either pay her half my subway costs ($9/day assuming I find free parking) or drive my car sometimes.  She didn't like the idea of swapping cars, and she said it wasn't worth the hassle of reimbursing her for the 3 miles a day she went out of her way.  She also gets free parking, $155/month, on which she has to pay taxes.  A week later she came up with a plan for me to repay her by driving her car on the way home. 

The subway takes about the same time as driving - a little less some days, little more if I end up having to wait for her because she's not ready to go on time.  Right now I'm taking subway in twice a week (she drives me in 3 days, and I drive both of us home 5), and I've always found free parking but yesterday I almost had to pay $5 for it.  I would guess that fully taking subway would cost $45/week (paying for parking twice) plus gas $5 plus just using the car more.  I've asked the company to do payroll deduction for the subway and they said they'd look into it but I don't think they ever did.  If I find free parking, it takes me 10 minutes to drive to the subway (4 miles), 10 minutes to walk from the parking to the subway, 25 minutes on the subway, 5 minutes to walk from the subway to work - so roundtrip, per day I would get back 50 minutes of reading on my cell phone plus 30 minutes of walking.

The thing is, the coworker talks a mile a minute both directions.  I like her, but she's ten years older than me and not mustachian, and I don't have 8 hours of conversation.  She mentioned wanting to learn Spanish, I said sure we could do that in the car, or listen to audiobooks, or check our emails (obviously whoever isn't driving), but I think she's flat out lonely. Even though she's married and lives with her daughter and family.  Even when I think of something to say, she's started sharing the minutiae of her life before I can say anything and then I forget what I was thinking.  Or I'll share a one sentence talk about my life and she'll respond with a 20 minute story about her own, instead of what I do is ask questions about that one sentence.  Lately she's been asking repeatedly if I want to eat lunch with her and again I think I'd rather listen to music and go for a walk.

The other thing is, I don't love driving. It's not bad right now as its still light out, but crossing 3 lanes of highway traffic to get to the HOV (carpool) lane then crossing back over 5 lanes to get to our exit lane.  The idea scares me in the dark, as my eyes aren't great at seeing dark cars in the lane next to me, or I confuse headlights two lanes over with the one in the next lane.  It would be slower, but minimal lane switching if I didn't use the HOV (carpool) lane, which is what she'd have to do without me.

Honestly, $200 a month seems like a significant savings, but I'm thinking about the radical solution of switching jobs.  Not just due to the commute, but as a significant factor.

Ron Scott

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2022, 08:10:00 AM »
Subway

Sibley

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2022, 08:37:12 AM »
Just take the subway. You're seriously over complicating this. As for your coworker, tell her that you've found that the subway is overall a better option for you so you're going to stick to that.

roomtempmayo

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2022, 09:54:24 AM »
$200 per month isn't nearly enough to become a stranger's daily sounding board/therapist.

Dicey

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2022, 11:49:51 AM »
Wow, you guys folded fast! In your shoes, since you asked, I'd suggest the audio book route. Figure out a topic or an author and offer to be the one who supplies the material in lieu of commute reimbursement.  I'm sure there are plenty of options, but I'll suggest everything by Dick Francis. They appeal to men and women, they're fast paced, and all somehow connected to horse racing. They're old*, so the library has them or you can get them easily.

Tell your commute partner that you hate to drive, which is why you take public transit. Once you fall under the spell of a good book, she won't care.

*Dick is racing horses in heaven now, but his son has taken up the mantle. Start with the oldest ones and work your way forward if you can. They absolutely do not have to be read in order, but it's more fun that way, as old protagonists return now and then.

roomtempmayo

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2022, 12:49:39 PM »
Wow, you guys folded fast!

I'm guessing there's a critical mass of introverts on here to whom this situation sounds like a circle of hell.  Of all the ways to save money on commuting, it's pretty rare to hear anyone talk about carpooling.

PDXTabs

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2022, 12:52:01 PM »
Carpooling with someone you like is great. Carpooling with someone that gets under your skin is horrible.

Dicey

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2022, 01:51:34 PM »
Carpooling with someone you like is great. Carpooling with someone that gets under your skin is horrible.
Agreed, but I see this situation as potentially manageable. At least I'd give it a shot rather than folding so easily.

Runrooster

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2022, 04:08:51 PM »
Thanks, all. I did suggest the audio book and she said that’s what she does when she drives alone. As I said, I think she really enjoys “the company” as she said the first day. I tried playing games on my cell phone but found her talking too distracting. I like to do the daily wordle.

My current thought is to bring up the payroll deduction again. If I can get the company to pay $155 towards subway for those of us who don’t need onsite parking or at least just pre-tax the subway bill, it will cut costs in half. It would also provide an excuse to why I’m switching.

Or I can wait until the time change in November to say I hate driving us home and either I can drive mornings or not at all.

The conversation could be a lot worse. More minutiae than complaining about her life. And if o stopped driving with her I would lose time listening to her at work since she’s my mentor. We have to bill our hours so I keep chitchat to a minimum since that basically cuts into my lunch or added to non billable time. I didn’t even like billing to admin when my boss chatted with me about a book she’s reading which sounded awful to me.

charis

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2022, 07:53:41 PM »
Yikes. I would much rather take the train than deal with having to talk to someone like that the whole time. So, so not worth it. I can't think of a family member or friend that I'd want to commute with that often. I've never had to do anything like that so maybe I'm biased.

Just Joe

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2022, 10:11:29 AM »
I think I went out with her a few times in the late 80s. Nice but so many words!

Words vs the anonymity of a crowded subway. Crowded highway vs crowded subway with a better safety record.

The ability to zone out on the subway vs all the words in the car.

Subway for me. Unless there was a bike path option.

Runrooster

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2022, 07:19:13 PM »
Unless there was a bike path option.

Genius.  I think there is one, and while it might be a bit far, I could get an e-bike.  The trailhead might be as close as the subway is now.

Update:  coworker's car broke down as I was driving us home.  We think the transmission is broken.  We got most of the way home, the tow truck came quickly, my nephew drove me home and I drove to take my coworker to her house.  Two hours later than usual I arrived home.  On top of a medical crisis with my Dad yesterday and fractured sleep.  Its definitely an omen.

big_owl

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2022, 02:28:31 PM »
I'd be worried what would.hapoen if you were to get into an art-fault accident driving your coworker's car.  Things could get really awkward and sour fast. 

charis

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2022, 07:34:31 PM »
I'd be worried what would.hapoen if you were to get into an art-fault accident driving your coworker's car.  Things could get really awkward and sour fast. 
I'd be worried what would.hapoen if you were to get into an art-fault accident driving your coworker's car.  Things could get really awkward and sour fast.

Good point. Especially if it is a mentor. I would not regularly drive a coworker's car.

Just Joe

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Re: "carpool" vs subway debate
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2022, 03:33:08 PM »
Unless there was a bike path option.

Genius.  I think there is one, and while it might be a bit far, I could get an e-bike.  The trailhead might be as close as the subway is now.

Update:  coworker's car broke down as I was driving us home.  We think the transmission is broken.  We got most of the way home, the tow truck came quickly, my nephew drove me home and I drove to take my coworker to her house.  Two hours later than usual I arrived home.  On top of a medical crisis with my Dad yesterday and fractured sleep.  Its definitely an omen.

Couple things with ebikes:

Make sure you have a safe places to lock it up i.e. not outside. If you must, consider taking the battery with you. Reduce the value of the bike by half by doing that. Watch YouTube videos for ideas about best strategies and locking methods.

Read up on battery care. Mine is on its fourth season and stick has plenty of "kick" b/c I am fairly religious about not charging above 80% or letting it get below 20%. There are chargers that will switch off at 80%. Still need to do a monthly 100% charge to balance the cells. Don't store it with a full battery. Charge it and use it. Or charge & stop at 80%. I store mine at around 50%.

Cheap tires will let you down. Good tires are $50 each. Wear out the cheap tires if you have cheap tires. Then upgrade. I like Schwalbe Marathons.

More details on request. I don't want to brain dump on everyone here.