I decided to make a dry run of my new commute this morning. I am a huge advocate of public transportation and while I realize it is not practical for everyone, I do think that it is worth the small trade offs even when it doesn’t appear to be the perfect or superior option by conventional measures.
I am fortunate to live near a rail station AND have a contract in an office near a destination rail station. During the morning “rush hour” this means about 70-80 real minutes on trains (including all stops, arrivals and the trivial walk). On the last destination leg I have the option of a short walk of 5-7 minutes from the rail station to the office complex or a complimentary shuttle servuce (about 3 minutes, nice option during bad weather).
At a glance driving seems to be far superior with Google maps clocking the commute at 27 minutes using the major highways. However, when you add rush hour volume to this, the commute time by car rises to a more realistic 50+ minutes. And this doesn’t include accidents or weather delays.
So best case scenario with either mode that is about 23 extra minutes on public transportation. Sure, it also means a little less flexibility but I consider the impact, luxury of reading or listening to music, podcasts or what not and the “not my problem” stress factor more than adequate returns on my time.
As always, YMMV. :)