Monday, July 30, 2012

Bye Metro

Via West Falls Steve:
My wife and I have been living about a mile from the West Falls Church Metro for about a year. At first, I was the only Metro commuter, but she got a job in the District this spring, and we started Metro-ing together.

Sometimes we'd walk to the Metro, sometimes we'd bike, sometimes we'd park'n'ride.

If we parked, the total cost was about $18 a day prior to the fare increases, now it's a whopping $19.75 with two rush hour round trips and parking.

So, in June, we started to get fed up with hot cars, delays, offloads, you know, all the standard Metro operating procedures.

I'm a big supporter of mass transit, so I deal with these problems begrudgingly. My wife is too, but she has less of a tolerance for jerky rides and being late to work (luckily my hours are flexible). So she started saying "let's drive."

I agreed to experiment, thinking I'd prove her wrong, and even though Metro is unreliable, I thought driving would be worse.

So, for the past few weeks we've driven in on 66, sailing gloriously along as we legally meet the HOV-2 requirement.

Today, for example, we left the house at 8:10 a.m. and were in the parking garage at 8:26. 8:26!

Traffic is lighter on Fridays, but Monday-Thursday, add seven to 10 minutes to that time.

Metro takes a bare minimum of 20 minutes from West Falls Church to Farragut West, and that ignores getting to the station and train, and getting out of the station.

Her walk is no further to work from the garage, and mine is a bit further than from Metro, but I still get to work early.

In fact, we have time to hang out and get a coffee and actually talk and enjoy each others' company, rather than having our mornings ruined by Metro!

I guess we are a bit lucky, because our jobs our on the west side of downtown, so its easy to just hop on and off the E Street Expressway to get home.

Now, on a cost basis, the garage is $14 a day (and this is straight cash, we're paying for daily parking and aren't using federal parking benefits), valet service. The round trip is 22 miles, which, in our car, is probably about $2.50 worth of gas at current prices.

So, cheaper than parking at the Metro, and faster to boot.

If you want to be technical and say that I should be using the IRS depreciation measure for driving (includes gas and maintenance), $0.55 per mile or whatever it is this year, sure, it's a bit more expensive than Metro, but still faster. Also, we're making payments on the car - I'd rather put the damn thing to use than fork my money over to Metro.

So, I feel like a horrible person for polluting and reducing the region's air quality and giving everyone's children asthma. But I feel like my sanity, time and money can override that. Metro just doesn't offer me the level of service and reliability to pay them just about the same amount of money to take up more of my time.

So, Metro, say goodbye to our 230 working days per year, at $19.75 per day (assuming we park and ride every day).

Say goodbye to that delicious $4,542.50 (holy sh*t).
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