Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cars versus trains: the power commute

Earlier this week I needed to move some things out of my office so I commuted by car instead of by train. Because of the residue of the holiday, traffic was light in the morning and I breezed up to LA in 1h40m, significantly faster than my normal travel time. The train ride is only 2h10m, but driving or taking the shuttle to and from the station involves a built-in cushion of waiting time, so my door-to-door travel time by Amtrak is about 3hours each way.

But even with the fast drive to LA, I still missed the train ride. Driving is hard work, requires constant focus, and most significantly prevents doing anything else. Without my morning train time, I didn't have a chance to read my email, scan the news, or get going on work (or write a blogpost! ;-). I arrived at my office feeling behind. While at work, I loaded a bunch of work things to read on my computer for the ride home--only to realize that I wouldn't be able to read them. The drive back was over 2h, with traffic heavy in parts. I arrived home tired, stiff, my back sore, and again, feeling behind. I felt a lot less productive than on a train day, even though I "gained" a couple of hours.

So, the comparison:
Car TrainWinner
cost $35 RT(tank of gas ) + wear plus parking ~$35, RT based on a 10 ride, free shuttle to work Draw
timeaverage 2h door to door each wayav 3h door to door each waycar
Productivitynil2 hours uninterrupted office work each waytrain
PHysicalstiff, stress roomy, can move around train
Environment greenhouse gas2-300 people sharing train

Now, if only there were a regular evening Amtrak leaving LA between the 5.10 and the 8.30, I'd be all set….

1 comment:

greg said...
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