Author Topic: Convince me to bike/bus to work  (Read 4445 times)

snafuing1

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Convince me to bike/bus to work
« on: November 25, 2014, 10:12:38 AM »
So, I signed a lease about a month before I got a job offer 18 miles away. The job pays 20k/year more than average for an entry level person in my field, which is well above the cost of commuting however you slice it, so I took it. Not to mention that I was just happy to break into the field after months of job hunting. I'm planning to move once my lease is up, but that's not until July.

For now, I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to bike/bus there instead of driving. I have tried biking alone and it is just too far. It took me almost 2 hours each way, and there's no route where I really feel safe the whole way... traffic is pretty bad. So I'm looking for another solution.

The route looks like 4-5 miles biking -> bus a -> bus b, then again in reverse to get home. I would have to leave the house at 7am and get home at 6:30pm, but really the 7:30am-6pm is "what counts" because I would be replacing other time spent exercising with the total of 8-10 miles biking. Of course, if I miss a connection somewhere in there due to the bus being late or whatever, add 30 minutes.

The cost of a bus day pass is 4.50. This is about how much gas it costs me to get to work and back, maybe even more than the cost of gas honestly. If I drive to work, I leave the house at 8am and get home at 5:45pm. So taking the bus over a car will effectively take about 45 minutes out of my day, but I will get to spend some of that time reading a book or whatever instead of driving. And I guess I would save wear & tear on my car.

Would you do it? Would that be worth it to you? Advise me or facepunch me at will.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 10:18:36 AM »
It depends on your vehicle, but a good placeholder cost per mile for a vehicle is $0.50. So 36 miles RT is costing you $18.

I live close enough that I bike the whole way (~11 miles) but you're right that 36 miles is a bit much day in, day out. There are a number of folks here who bike (or walk) part of the way, then take transit the rest of the way.

In nicer weather, I could also see doing bike-->bus in the morning, then bike the whole way home. 18 miles is a nice ride if you can do it fast, without worrying about how sweaty you'll be on arriving, especially once you get your conditioning up.

snafuing1

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 10:22:57 AM »
It depends on your vehicle, but a good placeholder cost per mile for a vehicle is $0.50. So 36 miles RT is costing you $18.

I live close enough that I bike the whole way (~11 miles) but you're right that 36 miles is a bit much day in, day out. There are a number of folks here who bike (or walk) part of the way, then take transit the rest of the way.

In nicer weather, I could also see doing bike-->bus in the morning, then bike the whole way home. 18 miles is a nice ride if you can do it fast, without worrying about how sweaty you'll be on arriving, especially once you get your conditioning up.

I struggle with being convinced by that $.50/mile number. I drive an economy car in good repair, with decent gas mileage, that's worth about 4k, and I have a good driving record so insurance is only $30/month for me and my husband. But, even if I am on the low end, even half that, means my commute cost $9/day. Hmm.

The issues with biking home are: The bus pass will cost the same whether I use it again in the evening or not, and there's still the issue of traffic...

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 11:16:44 AM »
I think you need to try the bike-bus combination a couple of times.  Having your exercise and book-reading time enclosed in your commute could be very relaxing. OTOH, changing from bike to bus to bus could be a huge pain. The only way to know is to try it.

Another option is to drive partway, park the car, and bike the rest of the way. This can be good if you can find a comfortable route for the bike leg, and a safe-enough place to park.

Bob W

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 11:22:00 AM »
Biking is off the scale dangerous --  Better to get a 5K car that gets 32 mpg.   Your daily cost will be 3 bucks.   Depreciation almost nothing.

Better yet --- Share a ride!!!   Car pooling is a great hack.  Could reduce your cost to $1.  Most cities have a manner in which to find a share a ride person or two. 

LibrarIan

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 11:27:12 AM »
Can you drive to bus B and then ride that one the rest of the way in? Happy medium? (I'd rather you bike/bus it though.)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2014, 11:31:55 AM »
Biking is off the scale dangerous

Please. No. Not another thread like this.

I struggle with being convinced by that $.50/mile number. I drive an economy car in good repair, with decent gas mileage, that's worth about 4k, and I have a good driving record so insurance is only $30/month for me and my husband. But, even if I am on the low end, even half that, means my commute cost $9/day. Hmm.

My personal cost per mile for vehicles is $0.38 but, since you didn't specify the vehicle, I made a guess based on the current IRS figure (which is admittedly high) of $0.54. Someone buying used economy cars down the depreciation curve, doing DIY maintenance, etc bottoms out around $0.25/mile. Perhaps slightly lower.

The first year of biking can be quite expensive until all the gear amortizes, but for example Russ (one of the mods) has a CPM of $0.11ish despite being rather spendy with his purchases, because he bikes a TON and has for a number of years. Until I started tracking all 5 of my family's bikes, my personal biking CPM was already below $0.20 within 6 months.

snafuing1

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 11:34:27 AM »
I think you need to try the bike-bus combination a couple of times.  Having your exercise and book-reading time enclosed in your commute could be very relaxing. OTOH, changing from bike to bus to bus could be a huge pain. The only way to know is to try it.

Another option is to drive partway, park the car, and bike the rest of the way. This can be good if you can find a comfortable route for the bike leg, and a safe-enough place to park.

Fair enough. I'll at least try it!

Unfortunately for the drive/bike plan, the worst part of the commute, traffic-wise, is the area right around where I work. :/

Biking is off the scale dangerous --  Better to get a 5K car that gets 32 mpg.   Your daily cost will be 3 bucks.   Depreciation almost nothing.

Better yet --- Share a ride!!!   Car pooling is a great hack.  Could reduce your cost to $1.  Most cities have a manner in which to find a share a ride person or two. 

Haha I have a 4k car that gets 34 mpg. That's why I'm wondering if it's even worth it not to drive.

I might be able to find a carpool. Lots of people work in the area I work, but I still live in the student ghetto so I'm not sure many of them live where I live. I will look into this.

Can you drive to bus B and then ride that one the rest of the way in? Happy medium? (I'd rather you bike/bus it though.)

Bus B is only about 3 miles from work. Bus A is the majority of the trip. I think there is a park-and-ride along Bus A's route, though, so it might be a good option for bad weather days, but then I'm spending money on some amount of gas AND a bus pass. This would make the month-long unlimited bus pass, worth it over of the day pass though possibly. The day pass is 4.50, the month pass is 76.50, which works out to about $3.80/day if I ride the bus every work day.

snafuing1

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 11:40:29 AM »
Biking is off the scale dangerous

Please. No. Not another thread like this.

I struggle with being convinced by that $.50/mile number. I drive an economy car in good repair, with decent gas mileage, that's worth about 4k, and I have a good driving record so insurance is only $30/month for me and my husband. But, even if I am on the low end, even half that, means my commute cost $9/day. Hmm.

My personal cost per mile for vehicles is $0.38 but, since you didn't specify the vehicle, I made a guess based on the current IRS figure (which is admittedly high) of $0.54. Someone buying used economy cars down the depreciation curve, doing DIY maintenance, etc bottoms out around $0.25/mile. Perhaps slightly lower.

The first year of biking can be quite expensive until all the gear amortizes, but for example Russ (one of the mods) has a CPM of $0.11ish despite being rather spendy with his purchases, because he bikes a TON and has for a number of years. Until I started tracking all 5 of my family's bikes, my personal biking CPM was already below $0.20 within 6 months.

I also really don't want to get into a is biking dangerous or not argument. Some places it is more dangerous than others. Around the area I work there are a lot of danger-increasing factors: high traffic, narrow shoulder, no bike lanes, no greenways, high speed limit, almost entirely multi-lane roads. Biking in those conditions is my past my personal threshold for danger.

The area around where I live is very bike friendly however: lots of greenways and bike lanes, lots of 2 lane each way low-traffic, low-speed limit roads. I own a bike already and ride it frequently in a 5-7 mile radius from my house for errands, the library, etc., so a lot of the bike costs are already sunk...

I think I've been convinced to try the bike/bus combo at least a couple times. Thanks Mustachians!

jamal utah

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2014, 12:12:18 PM »
So, I signed a lease about a month before I got a job offer 18 miles away. The job pays 20k/year more than average for an entry level person in my field, which is well above the cost of commuting however you slice it, so I took it. Not to mention that I was just happy to break into the field after months of job hunting. I'm planning to move once my lease is up, but that's not until July.

For now, I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to bike/bus there instead of driving. I have tried biking alone and it is just too far. It took me almost 2 hours each way, and there's no route where I really feel safe the whole way... traffic is pretty bad. So I'm looking for another solution.

The route looks like 4-5 miles biking -> bus a -> bus b, then again in reverse to get home. I would have to leave the house at 7am and get home at 6:30pm, but really the 7:30am-6pm is "what counts" because I would be replacing other time spent exercising with the total of 8-10 miles biking. Of course, if I miss a connection somewhere in there due to the bus being late or whatever, add 30 minutes.

The cost of a bus day pass is 4.50. This is about how much gas it costs me to get to work and back, maybe even more than the cost of gas honestly. If I drive to work, I leave the house at 8am and get home at 5:45pm. So taking the bus over a car will effectively take about 45 minutes out of my day, but I will get to spend some of that time reading a book or whatever instead of driving. And I guess I would save wear & tear on my car.

Would you do it? Would that be worth it to you? Advise me or facepunch me at will.

You may have already done this, but have you checked out google maps (the biking tab) for alternate routes that may be safer? 18 miles is a long way, but thats my commute.  You will get into shape fast if you bike 36  miles a day.  You will also get faster.  What type of bike are you using?

snafuing1

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2014, 12:55:00 PM »

You may have already done this, but have you checked out google maps (the biking tab) for alternate routes that may be safer? 18 miles is a long way, but thats my commute.  You will get into shape fast if you bike 36  miles a day.  You will also get faster.  What type of bike are you using?

I have a hybrid 24-speed. I am in pretty good cardio shape (runner) but only bought the first bike I've owned as an adult about 3-4 months ago.

Now, if I could bike 18 miles down greenway to work I'd do it. That would probably only take about an hour and a half, or maybe even less. But with stoplights and traffic, it's more like 2 hours. There is essentially no good route to my work because it is surrounded on all sides by bad biking conditions. I have seriously considered this option. I biked it and scoped out 4-5 routes, and I can't find a solution that's acceptable to me and my level of risk tolerance and time spent commuting in any form.

TrMama

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2014, 12:56:03 PM »
Honestly, no I wouldn't bike that far. I already bike 8 mi each way to work and I think that's close to my limit. Is there any way to sublet your apartment until July and move closer now? I suspect that will be a more effective use of your energy than trying to decrease your commuting costs.

snafuing1

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 01:23:12 PM »
Honestly, no I wouldn't bike that far. I already bike 8 mi each way to work and I think that's close to my limit. Is there any way to sublet your apartment until July and move closer now? I suspect that will be a more effective use of your energy than trying to decrease your commuting costs.

Technically in the lease we are not allowed to sublet. We could maybe get around that, but I don't think I could find a cheap <12 month lease, and in 7-9 months I am 80% likely to be moving across the country. I wouldn't want to sign another lease until I know for sure - I'd hate to have to scramble to illegally sublet a place from 3 time zones away!

MKinVA

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2014, 02:25:01 PM »
Just drive to work. You'll make it up to the planet later in life.

Ricky

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Re: Convince me to bike/bus to work
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2014, 04:32:42 AM »
 You already do your good biking deeds in other ways. I agree with you that the 36 mile round trip is way too taxing for an everyday affair, and those conditions are well beyond anything I'd put myself through to save $18/day.

Your car commute is a $4,680 a year expense, assuming 25c a mile. Honestly though, I'd say you're closer to 18-20c a mile. That said, stick with driving. Cost per mile estimators usually assume your vehicle isn't paid off and that it's depreciating at a ridiculous rate. Your car obviously doesn't hsve much room to depreciate and its paid off. Plus your insurance is super cheap.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 04:43:12 AM by Ricky »