Author Topic: Help reducing commuting costs in DC  (Read 2896 times)

Weedy Acres

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« on: October 01, 2014, 11:58:19 AM »
I have a sibling that lives in Northern Virginia but works in DC.  Can't move for a few more years due to a divorce/custody/visitation thing.  Works both in the DC office (25 miles from home) and at clients' homes, mostly in the district.  Drives a 2000 Honda Accord.  Gas + tolls + parking are running close to $700/mo.  Tolls are typically $140, gas $300 and the rest is obscene parking rates, which range from $10-20, depending on whether her schedule gets her there in time for the early bird rates and whether she parks a few blocks further away.

Her day can be a mix of venue, and she has to drive when going to clients' homes. 

Any ideas to help her out? 

capnbike

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 01:53:49 PM »
I live in DC and I think a touch more multi-modal means of transport will help. For instance - if your sister can drive her car to the Metro, then she can keep a bike locked up (heavily so depending on the area) at the metro station nearest to her work. Depending on the distances she's dealing with, she could do that for getting to the metro from home or from it to work. Or, a folding bike (less than the cost of the gas and parking for a single month) can be taken on the metro going both ways. If she needs the car to drive around the city due to distances, it might make sense to see if she has any friends in the district with a temporary zone parking pass for the area she works in. The bus lines in certain areas are also quite efficient, but that can be a bit challenging if she requires moving at a tight timetable all day.

Hope that helps

Carolina on My Mind

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 08:44:15 PM »
I don't actually know if this would be cheaper, but it might be worth looking into:  using Metro to get into the city and then signing up for Zipcar and Capital Bikeshare to get around once she's downtown.  If she's paying tolls she's out toward Reston, right?  So she could potentially take the silver line into DC, then use Zipcar when she needs to drive from place to place within the District.  For short distances she could use CaBi.  Zipcars are all over the place; you have to return the car to the same place you got it, but you can park in any legal street parking space in DC for free.  CaBi is also all over the place, and you can return the bikes anywhere -- I use them a lot for short trips.  It sounds a little "Planes Trains and Automobiles," I know, but it's easier than it sounds, and I'd do virtually anything to avoid the headache of driving into town from the Dulles Toll Road!

LALALA

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2014, 04:50:58 PM »
What part of Northern VA?  Can she slug a few days when there are no client appointments?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 05:05:36 PM by LALALA »

dodojojo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 554
Re: Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2014, 06:41:47 PM »
I don't actually know if this would be cheaper, but it might be worth looking into:  using Metro to get into the city and then signing up for Zipcar and Capital Bikeshare to get around once she's downtown.  If she's paying tolls she's out toward Reston, right?  So she could potentially take the silver line into DC, then use Zipcar when she needs to drive from place to place within the District.  For short distances she could use CaBi.  Zipcars are all over the place; you have to return the car to the same place you got it, but you can park in any legal street parking space in DC for free.  CaBi is also all over the place, and you can return the bikes anywhere -- I use them a lot for short trips.  It sounds a little "Planes Trains and Automobiles," I know, but it's easier than it sounds, and I'd do virtually anything to avoid the headache of driving into town from the Dulles Toll Road!

Car2Go is another car share option.  No need to return the car to the same park spot.

Weedy Acres

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
Re: Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2014, 04:27:41 PM »
She said she doesn't always know if there will be client visits; they can be day-of call-ins.  And she lugs equipment around in her trunk, making the zipcar/carngo option tough. 

She'd love to bike, and lives about 5 miles from a Metro station.  But clients are typically 20-30 minutes from the office. 

Not trying to be a complainypants, just trying to figure out what might help her commuting costs and sanity.

MaggieDrsg

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
Re: Help reducing commuting costs in DC
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2014, 07:38:34 PM »
Does she need her car after work?  Can she rent a monthly parking spot somewhat near work, leave her car there for the most part, and bike/Metro in and out of the city each day?  I know people who have done a similar thing (different location), and then they drive in on Monday/out on Friday in order to use the car on weekends.

I'm not familiar with DC so this may be a laughable idea along with renting a full-time "regular" monthly spot, but does she know anyone who reverse commutes whose spot she could use most days, even if it isn't quite as convenient?  In certain areas of the big city I'm familiar with, there are some off street spots that could work out like this for the right people.