Friday, August 27, 2010

Adios Metro

When I started my job in the city, I figured it would not even be an option to drive in, that I would be a full-time metro rider. I had been taking the metro to my Arlington job and had kinda grown accustomed to it. Why would I want to sit in traffic when I could sleep on the metro? I figured rush hour traffic would be ridiculous and parking would be way too expensive. I was content with riding the metro… I always had a seat in the morning and even though I had to stand most of the way home, I was the last stop and never had to worry about missing it.

But then the metro started getting unreliable. The prices started going up. The time between trains started to increase even though the public was PROMISED service wouldn’t be affect/cut to close the budget gap. Riiiiiiight. But I was still set on riding the metro.

A few weeks ago we were pushing out a project and I had to work late every night. I decided that I would try the whole, “driving into the city” thing. The metro runs every 15-20 minutes after rush hour so if I would miss the train coming home from work late or after a Happy Hour, I would have to sit around and then sit on the metro for 30 minutes. It just makes for a long and exhausting trek home. Let me tell you, I became quite a fan of the “driving into work” thing. Traffic really wasn’t that bad in the morning and byt the time I left to go home, there was no one on the roads.

It’s pretty great to have control of the situation, as opposed to being stuck somewhere with no way out if there’s a delay. If there’s a traffic jam, I have an opportunity to take and alternate route. Not with metro. I always have a seat and can listen to the radio or use my phone when I drive… not on the metro. The metro costs me $15/day to use (that includes parking). Driving in is about 15 miles and costs $10 to park.

I kept the argument going in my head that I can pay for metro, pretax, through a program at work, so it’s more economical. But when the difference is $5/day, the difference pretty much offsets any pretax savings. The commute time is the same whether I metro or drive, so why not be comfortable in my car?

So for the month of September, I’m going to try driving in 2 days/week to start. I want to see how rush hour traffic is once school is back in session. I’m pretty certain eventually I will just drive in everyday and take the metro when I need to because honestly, there is no benefit at this point. Not when the metro continues to hike prices and offer crappy service. I am not a fan.