Interesting Reader Breakdown of His Transit Costs

Photo by PoPville Flickr user fromcaliw/love

I thought this was a pretty cool breakdown of commuting costs from a reader. I can’t believe how expensive metro has become. I would have been curious to see how much a commute by bus cost.

Perhaps just one more potential reason to support the addition of streetcars?

My Daily Commute by Metro:

I leave home at 8:15 AM M-F and get to work between 8:40 and 9:05 AM
Takes 35-50 minutes.
Includes a 1.1 mile bike ride to/from my house to the Fla/NY Ave Metro station.
Includes 11 metro stops.
Includes a 5 minute walk from underground Friendship Heights Metro to my desk.
I leave the office at 5:45PM M-F and get home at 6:30PM.

$3.25 fare each way with a SmartCard
Round trip = $6.50/Day
x 5 days = $32.5/Week
x 4 weeks = roughly $130.0/Month
x 12 months = $1560.0/Year.

My Daily Commute by Car:

I leave home at 8:15 AM M-F and get to work between 8:45 and 8:55 AM

Takes 30-40 minutes

Involves a 8.3 mile drive from my house to the office.

Round trip = 16.6 miles/Day
x 5 days = 83 miles/Week
x 4 weeks = 332 miles/Month
x12 months = 3,984 miles/ Year
An average car gets 17 city MPG.
332 miles/ month =19.5 gallons of gas
Average gas price in DC = $2.89/Gallon
x 5 days $14.11/ week
x 4 weeks = $56.44/Month
X 12 months = $677.28/year

To be fair, there are additional costs here besides gas. 3,984 miles per year would
require 1.3 additional oil changes, about 1/10th the life of a set of tires, 1/30th the
life of the vehicle and possibly slight increase in an insurance premium.

My Daily Commute by Bicycle
To work begins at 7:45 AM
Takes about 50-60 minutes
Involves a 7.5 mile bike ride
Requires a shower before work.
Is great for mental and physical health


2 additional tune-ups per year = $120/Year

131 Comment

  • Parking is free?

    Not sure how to price the time commuting. If you bike it basically replaces your work out. If you ride metro you can read the newspaper, do e-mail, etc. So the time is not “lost” to you. If you drive you can listen to NPR, but otherwise you lose the time for another other activity.

    • SouthwestDC

      Yes, but driving is usually a lot faster than metroing or biking. I was surprised to see that this guy only saves 5-10 minutes by driving instead of taking public transit. For me it’s more like half an hour each way, which adds up to significant time savings.

      • Do you cab it in the rain and in the snow? Is there a place where you can change out of your wet clothes when you get to work? Is it cool to stink at your office?

    • Parking was the first thing I thought of, as well. It costs $15/day to park at my building. The cheapest I’ve seen in the area is $12/day.

      As far as time goes, I’m one of the odd people who would lose time by driving. However, my commute is only about 1.5 miles and all of the driving would be through traffic-laden areas.

  • Dont forget medical bills added to the bike costs…

  • Another cost for bike transportation may include “one additional bike per year”. It seems like everyone I know has had a bike stolen this year.

  • Additional Bicycle Costs: 2k for tooth repair.

  • Seriously? What about parking??

    • SouthwestDC

      Some of us, especially those of us who don’t work downtown, have free parking. It’s probably the biggest reason why driving is so much cheaper than public transit for me.

      • Well sure, but that renders meaningless the analysis above for anybody who doesn’t get free parking. My calculus would have to figure $15/day to park.

        And let’s not forget that the Metro fare for most everybody is, potentially, government subsidized through the tax deductibility of transit withholdings and/or free benefits (at least for the feds among us).

        My only point being that this seems like an individual fact-specific inquiry; there’s no big theory this guy has proven by his numbers breakdown.

        • “Most everybody”?

          Not everyone works for the Federal Government, you know.

          • That’s not what “government subsidized” means. Most companies take advantage of government programs to subsidize public transportation – for instance my company allows me to direct deposit up to $120 a month to my smarttrip account pre-tax, cutting the cost of commuting by about a third.

            If your company doesn’t do this, I would suggest getting in touch with HR. Of course, this is assuming that your comment wasn’t just petty snark.

          • What I meant was that few places of employment, outside of the Federal Government, pay for or reimburse their employees for taking public transit. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a bubble.

          • Yes, but most employers offer withholding of transit money that, depending on your tax bracket, saves you a goodly amount off the fare you’re paying, as those benefits aren’t counted in your taxable income. So if you’re paying your Metro fare from pre-tax dollars that way, it’s effectively a coupon/subsidy in the amount of your marginal tax bracket rate off the fare.

            The feds just get an additional transit subsidy on top of salary, making it 100% free.

          • PS — I agree that the feds are uniquely generous in their transit benefit. No one else gets that sweet of a deal.

          • The Cato Institute does!

        • agree. nothing to see move along…

          • When I worked for a private sector PR firm, I was offered a transit-only Flexible spending account. Basically I could divert pre-tax dollars into the account for my Metro cost….essentially a 30% discount on Metro prices.

        • well, big fat duh. Of course this is one individual’s numbers and experience. It’s a very interesting comparison nonetheless. Nobody ever said it was the unveiling of some Grand Theory on Getting to Work.

          It’s meant to make you think about it. So, think about it.

          • well put. I tried to be non-bias, but if there is an argument i would like to make it’s- riding the metro should be cheaper or as cheap as driving.

            for me that is not the case. I think the whole “peak of the peak” increase on top of the recent fare hikes is ridiculous and punishes their most frequent riders.

    • I’m a federal contractor and my company reimburses me for parking, but won’t reimburse for Metro fares. So I drive, because it comes out cheaper for me.

      And Metro is hardly reliable these days. For some of us, getting to work on time is actually important.

  • Gee this person isnt too biased in favor of riding a bike are they? If they are going to breakdown life of car tires, oil changes, etc they should do the same for the bike. Just a tune up doesnt account for new tires, etc. I’ve thought about riding my bike to work, but how do you get your clothes to/from work each day? Please share with me how to pack a suit in such a way to not wrinkle it on a bike, because you’ve got to carry your clothes, and a towel, and remember to have soap/shampoo. Oh and access to a shower at your office. I agree that Metro HAS become expensive, but luckily many workplaces (like mine) subsidize the metro/parking, thus my commute cost is $0.00.

    And finally, POP, why would streetcars necessarily help? IF/when they do arrive, will they be much less expensive than metro? (Really, i dont know the answer to that question, though i have some idea). But they wouldnt help this person get from NY Ave to Friendship Heights regardless…

    • Jeez.

      He is talking about HIS OWN costs not yours and everyone elses…

      Maybe he doesn’t wear a suit to work? Perhaps he has an office where he can store soap and a towel?

      Maybe he doesn’t have metro benefits?

      If you already own a car for other reasons you would only add the additional costs accrued through the commute.

      I agree his calculation is far from perfect especially given that I am a cost analyst, lol. But it’s a decent starting point.

    • Get a wardrobe at work, do dry cleaning nearby, and change after your daily shower at work. Not that everyone can do this, but for those who can it’s awesome.

      • Yes, just putting up a wardrobe at work is practical for nearly everyone…

        • I like to shower in the parking lot with a gallon jug.

          • some people would pay to see that. maybe you could counterbalance the extraordinarily extensive, expensive and crippling costs of bicycle upkeep by selling tickets, thereby making that option more worthwhile!

        • I said “if you can do it”, meaning, if you have an actual private office. Wardrobes are just another piece of office furniture. I have one and it isn’t like a giant closet sized piece of furniture. In fact, everyone in my building has one. Many people who didn’t even bike come in in t shirts and jeans and change to their suits in their office, since there is dry cleaning right downstairs. Just saying that is the way at least the people in my building do it.

          • You work with a bunch of freaks.

            Seriously, though, I’d hate to run into one of my clients wearing full bicycle gear and covered in sweat.

    • the street car will be $1 per trip– free if transferring from metro or metro bus

    • I ride my bike to work every day. How do I get my clothes there? I wear them. City riding need not be fast, furious or delivery-style. An easy pace on a commuter bike doesn’t wrinkle work clothes or cause a sweat.

  • Yeah, this is not a good breakdown. How much do you save on health care costs by riding your bike?

    • Probably they go up. All the medical care required after you inevitably get side swiped by a car is going to cost you, even with decent insurance.

      Even if it doesn’t, there’s currently no penalty in our health care system for being overweight and out of shape.

  • This assumes that you already have a car. I do not have a car. So no car payment. most people I know dont own their cars outright and have payments around 250 a month on them. Add to that insurance payments, upkeep, gas, Parking. When you factor the cost of car ownership in then it’s still far cheaper to metro. In my case I own no car and my work pays for my smarttrip card. I spend zero dollars on commute and have enough leftover on my card to fund my tansportation costs on weekends too. I havent put a dime of my own money on my smart card since I got it.

    • this is probably one (small) contributing reason why metro is expensive. all the kids that get free metro overconsume.

      • How exactly do you “overconsume” metro?

        Riding around all day for fun? The trains will run regardless anyway. And they ARE paying customers it’s just subsidized by their employer.

        • As the person above stated, getting extra metrofare from their employer and using it for fun/personal trips on the weekends.

          • Technically that should be reported as income when you use it on the weekends.

            Let’s just ban everyone who has employer sponsored Metro fare from driving a car in the city during the work week.

          • So the metro is more expensive because work pays for my trips instead of me? Explain? Is it because I ride more than I would if I had to pay my own money? Not true in my case but how would even that make metro more expensive? I’m getting it for free from my work not from Metro. And I work for a private company.

          • Ragged- I don’t own a car. People usually end up with extra money on their cards because they take the Bus instead of the metro. Not because they are driving to work while collecting the metro money. Anyway folks. No reason to hate. You can all give up your cars anytime you want and join the club.

          • anan– It should be reported if you’re claiming greater commuting costs than you actually incur. I know people with cards full of fare they never use because they slug, which is practically free. Others drive, carpool, take cheaper public transit, or lie about how long their trip is. None of these are right.

          • Oh?- I can understand your jealousy but regardless of who,what,when,where,or why I end up with extra Smart Card benefits there is no additional strain or cost placed on the metro system that would lead to higher costs passed on to the paying customers. Which was the initial claim someone made. And I assure you my employer would laugh at me if I went and told them they are over subsidizing my metro travel. Its a standard subsidy they came up with. Many of use can’t use it fast enough. And when the card tops out at 300 bucks we can’t even claim the full monthly allotment. And frankly my dear. They don’t give a damn.

        • anan, if you are given money to reimburse your commuting costs and it ends of being greater than your commuting costs, then whatever is left over is income, pure and simple. I’m not saying you’re morally corrupt for not reporting it (no one does) but you can’t deny it’s technically income.

      • Love the disparaging use of “kids”. Grow up and get a car like a real adult, anan!

        • I am a grown up. I have a car (2 in fact in our family). I still ride my bike to work when it’s not raining because it’s faster, cheaper and far less aggravating. And for everybody who thinks that riding in the city = an inevitable horrific crash: you fail because you’ve never tried or are just scared of that world outside of your windshield or something. 15+ years of urban riding and I’ve never (*never*) been in a collision with a car, ped or another bike. You just have to NOT ride like a asshole while keeping your head on a swivel for those drivers and bikers who ARE. Riding defensively ain’t rocket science.

    • SouthwestDC

      If you already own a car that’s paid off and in good shape it’s usually cheaper to drive, especially if parking’s free. Insurance, gas, and the occasionally oil change do not add up to the $250 or so I’d spend commuting by bus and metro.

  • This calculation accounts for 48 weeks in a year. There are 52.

  • It looks like this guy is already incorporating some unorthodox cost savings to his car commute like not registering his car in DC, not paying for parking, and not paying for insurance. There similar ways to reduce costs with Metro trips. Just follow quickly through the gate behind the guy in front of you. Be sure to swipe your wallet or CVS card so it looks legit. Also be sure to do this both ways or you’ll be stuck explaining why your SmartTrip card shows you last used it exiting at L’Enfant two weeks ago.

    • All but parking are a non issue – registration and insurance would be necessary costs whether or not he used his car to go to work.

      • Oh but they are issues. You assume you would have a car regardless of whether you use it to commute. Many wouldn’t justify the cost of a car they only drove here and here on the weekends. Myself included. And you can’t just toss the cost of the car and insurance etc from the equation because you also drive it on the weekends. If so you would also have to toss the cost of the bike and bike maintenance.

  • Typical cost for operating a car is something like $0.40 per mile. That would be approximately $1600, not counting parking. And by the way, they’re getting ready to tax your employer-provided parking benefit, sunshine.

    As others have pointed out, the best bet is to not own one, if you can manage it.

    • According to the IRS, it’s actually $0.50 per mile, which would be $1992 per year.

      If he took the bus, it would take about an hour to get to work, but would only cost $3 per day, or $720 per 48 week year.

      • You’re making a huge assumption that it only takes him one bus to get from home to work. It would take me 3.

      • The IRS uses those numbers to determine travel expenses for purposes of deduction. In other words, it’s how much they will reimburse you for work related travel that isn’t part of your commute, if you are eligible.

        It’s not an actual cost. Also, the IRS’s number may include factors such as depreciation of the vehicle, which doesn’t apply here.

        I thought the whole idea of this post was to take a calculator out and find the actual cost, which is what one has to do in real life if they’re mulling a car or bike purchase.

        • The IRS gdoesn’t just make the numbers up.

          The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.

          And of course depreciation counts here. Using your car makes it less valuable.

        • Yeah, how does depreciation not count? I thought he was overly generous by factoring in depreciation at 1/30. It’s closer to 1/8 or 1/7. Almost nobody keeps the same car for, like, the majority of their adult working life, and car companies know that. Have you tried to sell a commuter car 8 years after you bought it new? You might as well scrap it.

  • car insurance definitely goes up when you use your car for commuting. (or goes down like mine when I don’t)

  • The bike tires that don’t immediately go flat from glass cost $50, and I go through 3 of those a year

    • Get Kevlar tires. Same cost, and they last at least a couple of years (unless you’re riding off-road or have terrible luck). I haven’t gotten a single flat since I bought mine 2.5 years ago.

    • Agreed. Kevlar tires are great. Replaced one in two years because a bad pothole moved my back wheel out of place and left my brakes rubbing the sidewall of the tire. If DC knew how to maintain a road, I’d still be riding on it.

  • this appears to be a comparison of just trip cost.

    the general costs of owning a car are always more than you think / plan.

    some people get free metro use, some people get free parking so you cant compare these two scenarios to each other.

    hands down bicycling is the cheapest way to commute if you live within 10 miles of work even if you replace your bike every year.

  • I work at Judiciary Square and live in SW Waterfront. Instead of taking the metro, I walk to and from work (approximately 1.8 miles each way) each day. My employer does offer subsidized metro cost but I prefer to walk. I’m saving money and it does wonders for my general well-being.

    • SouthwestDC

      I’m dreaming of the day I can do this!

    • This is exactly why bike commuters are so eager to get others to try it. I am never stressed out. Ever. Any time I get stressed out at home, its gone by the time I get to work; stress at work is gone by the time I get home. I’m incredibly happy, thanks to my bike. Well being adds years to your life, which absolutely have monetary value. Plus, I never need sick days, because I’m never sick (I’m 48).

      I feel so bad for drivers when I see them stuck in traffic, slamming their hands against a steering wheel. Your car is a heart attack.

      • Driving truly is stressful. This morning I had a 9:30 meeting so I left the house at 8, thinking an hour and a half would be enough time (I work in DC and live inside the Beltway). The commute ended up taking an hour and 45 minutes so I was late anyway. Breathing exercises helped reduce the stress but there’s only so much you can do while driving a vehicle.

        Hoping to find property in DC soon– my partner is picky so we’ve been searching over a year with no luck.

  • I made these far from perfect calculations for my personal commute. You guys bring up some good points when considering your own. Here are some notes

    -I own a car that’s paid for. I drive it probably 5 miles a week save road trips. But it’s something I would always have regardless of the commute.
    -There is a shower and a locker at my work that I can use for free.
    -My job gives me the option of free parking or $75 towards metro
    -I don’t have to wear a suit to work.
    -I calculated 48 weeks to account for 3 weeks PTO + holidays.
    -I probably would have to sink a couple hundred more dollars into my bike besides the tune-ups.

    • Sounds like you should sell the car and join Zipcar

    • And you know, everyone has their own personal calculus for determining the best commute. I think a more important question is, “do you consider commute when you choose your place to live?”

      For example, I would never live on the Red Line because it breaks down all the time, and I work near Red/Blue/Orange, so if I moved I would only consider places within walking distance, on the Blue/Orange line, or near one of the 2 major bus routes that stop at my office. But I don’t think most people consider this. They see space vs price and don’t consider time or transportation costs.

      Or how about this factor, I’m paid about $30 an hour. I have an 8 minute walking commute. If I had to spend 40 minutes commuting each way– about an hour more a day– wouldn’t that “cost” me $150 more a week? Nearly $7,000 a year?

  • Generally you can compute car depreciation costs at .34 cents per mile. That (or somewhere around it) is the government reimbursement rate (and what big companies like mine allow you to expense when you drvie your own car)

  • The problem is only counting gas, not insurance, wear and tear, etc. IRS gives an estimate of 50 cents a mile for all that and most accounting experts agree IRS tends to underestimate. But if you use the IRS yardstick, driving costs you $1,990.

  • I wish my metro fare was as cheap as this guys’. I pay $3.70 each way! It ends up being $7.40 a day! I get it added to my card each month, tax-free from my employer, but it adds up. Sometimes I’ll wait to leave slightly later just so my fare goes down to the non-rush hour price of $2.15 when I exit the fare gate. I ride from Rosslyn to Silver Spring and it takes almost an hour.

    The bus is by far the cheapest, but is too far/long for me to commute from my home to work. It would take over an hour and a half probably to get to work that way for me.

    What’s up with all the problems on the Red line lately?

  • I’d be curious to see everyone else’s breakdowns. Here’s mine:

    Driving (12 miles):
    — $240/month for gas, insurance, car payments (none), parking (free), using the average GSA rate of $0.5 per mile
    — Takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours each way (on average 45 minutes to an hour)

    Public Transit (express bus + metro + shuttle)
    — $292/month (employer does not reimburse)
    — Takes 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
    — Less flexibility about when I can leave (I sometimes lose 15-30 minutes here and there because I didn’t time it properly)

    I’ve never tried biking or walking, but according to Google Transit the bike would take an hour and a half each way and walking would be 4 hours 38 minutes each way.

    • maybe dont live 12 miles from your office

      • Funny you should say that… I’m living 12 miles from my office so I can save up enough money to buy property within walking distance. Unfortunately Capitol Hill is so expensive so it’s taking a while.

      • 12 miles is nothing when you consider how many people commute into the city from Baltimore, Fredericksburg, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc.

      • Don’t live 12 miles from her office so she can do what? Take public transit? Bike? I’m not sure what your point it.

      • Who made up the golden rule that you have to live close to where you work? People live where they can afford to, plain and simple.

        I work in Alexandria where a one-bedroom condo can easily run you $300k. 15 miles away and I own a single family home for a fraction of that price.

        I can’t choose where my office building is located but I can choose to live somewhere where I’m not living paycheck to paycheck.

        • Not to mention job changes or relocations. It’s hard to just pick up and move every time you switch jobs.

          Or maybe you have kids and the area you work at doesn’t have good public schools.

          Or maybe your spouse works near where you live, or works in the opposite direction of your work and your place of residence is a sort of compromise.

          Maybe you have elderly parents and want to be near them. Maybe you’re living with your parents to avoid pissing away money on rent.

          Or maybe you just don’t like the neighborhoods close to where you work. Maybe it’s rundown and unsafe. Maybe it’s out in Reston and you hate the suburbs. Maybe there’s a restuarant near your home that you absolutely love! Unfortunately, most people can’t just pick and choose where they work, which is why we have to travel a few miles every day to get there.

          • Or maybe you’re greedy and self righteous and want to have a lot of space without paying the true costs of ownership and instead want to pass the external costs of your choices onto your fellow citizens and future generations.

          • I honestly don’t think that’s why most people chose not to live near work. No McMansion is worth sitting in gridlock for 3 hours every day.

            Talk about self righteous…

    • mine:

      driving: $30/month using the gsa rate. free parking & car is paid off – i feel i need to have a car because my neighborhood is not safe to walk around in at night. 10 minutes.

      public transit: metro & bus are not viable options but there’s a shuttle i can catch a few blocks from home. if i time it right it takes 10 minutes. free!

      walking: takes about half an hour. also free!

      biking: about 10 minutes. cost of bike maintenance.

  • There’s nothing “interesting” about this. It’s a common mistake to forget that there are much bigger costs than gasoline to own and operate a car.

    The IRS’s Business Mileage Reimbursement Rate is 50 cents for 2010. It’s meant to estimate the mile-per-mile costs of operating a car, including fuel, maintenance, cost of the car itself, parts, depreciation, etc.

    Under that rate, it costs $8.30 each way for him to commute by car. Multiply that by two trips a day, five days a week, four weeks a month, 12 months a year, and you get $3,984 per year. That’s $2,424 more than Metro, or 255.4% of the cost.

    Nice try, though.

    • Oops, forgot a division somewhere there. It’s half that.

      Point still stands. And I see the OP is now trying say his car costs less to drive. The line between more expensive and less expensive is at 39 cents per mile, which is 22% cheaper than the IRS average.

      Also, as many people have said before, parking. And the income tax savings (which apply to both Metro and parking).

  • The Federal Government has a policy (pre-tax parking benefit, including the private sector) that encourages people to drive alone to work. It is a de facto subsidy. [cue the 800 pt font] WHY?

    I’d guess most of you are liberals who expect the Fed Gov to fix Global Warming…

  • I agree with the posters above who recommend using the IRS Standard Mileage Rate of $0.50 per mile.

    “The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.”


    The calculation presented in the post underestimates that total cost of driving.

    The correct cost of driving is 3,984 miles * $0.50 = $1,992.

    • This # doesn’t apply to me because-

      -my car is paid for
      -it’s only worth about $2,500
      -my insurance covers 8000 miles per year I drive about 3,000

      Agreed that i pay more than gas to drive, but not that much more. Maybe .20 per mile.

      • Depreciation still applies even if your car is “paid for” – it’s not a measure of continued loan costs of a car, it’s the measure of the reduction in value that happens when you drive your car. Reduction in value = less money if you sell OR replacing the car sooner than you would otherwise.

        Also, your parking is free and you count that, but you don’t count the fact that your job would pay for half of your metro costs?

        • she never said her job pays for metro costs. don’t assume.

          • O Poster said: -My job gives me the option of free parking or $75 towards metro

            I wasn’t assuming, I read what the person wrote themselves.

            Here’s my reading of the numbers:

            $3.25 each way
            $6.50 each day
            250 working days per year
            $1625 fare cost per year
            -$900 paid by work ($75 x 12 months)

            16.6 miles per day
            250 working days per year
            4150 miles per year
            $700/year if you count JUST gas
            $830/year if you count “cheap car” depreciation at $0.20 per mile (your number, probably an understatement)

        • I get that, My point is that it will not cost me and extra 2,000 to drive my car to work for a full year.

          It will cost me:

          the gas
          the depreciation of the vehicle- lets say 300-500
          the extra oil change

          And yes work would pay for 1/2 of my metro. With this in mind I’ve come to the conclusion that it would cost me about the same car or metro. Luckily I can switch back and forth every month. I’ve been using the metro for the last 6 months. Occasionally I will drive my car or ride my bike. In the coldest months I may switch to driving.

          My job just recently offered free parking and that’s what sparked me to work out the numbers. Before it was pay $75 for parking or they would give you $60. So it was an easy choice

        • Depreciation isn’t a factor if you’re making this decision after having already paid off a car, like the OP.

          If you’ve already paid for the car, it’s a sunk cost. In a sense, you’ve already fully depreciated the vehicle. The IRS accounts for the cost of your car by depreciating it over time. If you’ve paid it off, you’ve already fully accounted for the cost of the car at the time of purchase.

          A clearer way to illustrate this is to imagine two people, one who has a car, and another who doesn’t yet. The second person could use the IRS millage estimate, while the first couldn’t. The first person would have to do what OP did — make an itemized list of actual costs. Doing otherwise would count depreciation twice.

  • Also, how many extra minutes does it take to shower and change clothes once you arrive at work? I have no idea how it works. For those who do, do you also have to do your hair and makeup after you get to work?

    • my guess is only guys can get away w/ biking to work. so, hopefully hair and makeup does not take too long.

      • As a woman who commutes from Bethesda to Foggy Bottom and back every day, I can see you’ve never stood at the mouth of the capital crescent trail between 7 and 10 AM. There are lots of us!

        • i can’t say i have! i’m just going by what i see on the street. so, female bike commuter, how do you address the hair and makeup issue?

          • I’ve been a female bike commuter for 10 years but I can’t help with hair/makeup issues. Not a problem with short hair and minimal makeup.

            I know isn’t the case for everyone but for me biking is the fastest and least expensive means of transport.

          • I wear my work clothes, makeup and hair to work. I commute about three miles on a commuter bike (NE DC to Farragut Square). I take it at an easy pace and it’s never left sweaty or gross at the office.

            Biking to work doesn’t have to be a workout (and yet it’s still nice exercise). It’s like walking a couple of blocks. Seriously — no sweat.

          • The biking has kept years off my face. Don’t really need it. A little eyeliner maybe. Since I’m in Bethesda my ride to work is a 7 mile downhill ride. Not too sweaty and my hair is fine when I get to work (a run through with a brush, tops). The ride home is much more of a workout…

  • I’m always impressed by the number of people on these blogs who don’t drive.

    In my office everyone drives, except one guy who sometimes slugs.

    My guess is that most blog commenters are young people who don’t have kids and don’t own property. Not a true reflection of the people who live and work in the DC area.

    • Only 19% of DC residents are kids– you assume some of those are siblings. The average household has only 2.2 people living in it.

      Less than 50% of residents have lived in their home for more than 5 years, only 40% own.

      And the average commute is less than 30 minutes. All these numbers are significantly different from the national “normal”. But that is what DC is.

      • You’re talking about DC residents. Anonymous is talking about residents of the DC metro area. The “Other DC” that walks around the corner to their jobs at 7-11 probably those commute time numbers quite a bit.

        • probably skew those commute time numbers quite a bit.

        • This is Prince of Petworth, not Greater Greater Washington.

          And the unemployed aren’t counted in commuting times, but thanks for playing.

          • Where did I mention the unemployed? And, by your logic about this being a Petworth blog, this post should not even exist since it doesn’t appear the commuter in question lives or works in Petworth.

          • I assumed by “jobs at 7-11” you meant hustlin.

            PoP is a DC-centric blog and you know this. He may post about Cleveland Park and Capitol Hill, but he’s never in the burbs.

          • Ok, but you can’t deny that most of the people who work in DC live in the suburbs (and, for that matter, many who live in DC work in the suburbs) and that the vast majority of people who work in the area do drive in.

        • That’s a pretty ridiculous assumption there. I live in the city, I work in the city. The vast majority of my friends do to. And we don’t work at 7-11, we work at pretty standard DC jobs ranging from the nonprofit sector to government to corporate. The handful of folks I know who live in MD/VA live there because they work in MD/VA and want to be closer to work.

          I’m sure my 20 minute, car free, $1 bus ride to work does skew those commuting studies, but that’s why I made the decision to live in the city.

          I’m also kind of unclear how the fact that I don’t have kids and don’t own a house makes me unrepresentative of my city when there are thousands of people just like me…but that’s another conversation.

          • “I’m also kind of unclear how the fact that I don’t have kids and don’t own a house makes me unrepresentative of my city”

            I didn’t say that. I said most commuters in the DC metro area drive to work because of factors that young, childless, single renters (typically those that are commenting on blogs) don’t need to consider as much.

            And thanks for sharing your personal story, but all I was saying is that my DC office is filled with people who drive in. So is my partner’s. So is the last place I worked and the last few places she worked. The last time there was a national bike to work day my coworkers had a good laugh about it because they couldn’t imagine doing such a thing given where they all live. Are you saying I don’t have a right to be surprised when the experiences shared on the blogosphere are in stark contrast to my reality?

            Also, Where are these mythical offices where a significant number of people bike, walk, or metro in?

          • In response to the question about which offices are full of non-drivers, mine is one.

            We’re an int’l nonprofit with about 80 DC based employees. I can only think of 5-6 people who drive to the office daily, there are at least 20 of us who bike (among them 2/3 of the C suite). At least half of those are homeowners and 6-7 either have children or are expecting.

            There is another large group of walkers.

            The remainder bus and metro–even those the Reston homeowner with a school-aged child. Parking in our building is $10/day. If you work a 200 day year (I’m assuming a fair amount of business travel, vacation, etc. here) that’s $2000 in parking costs. Unpalatable, especially on a nonprofit salary.

    • “People who rent” describes 55% of the households in DC
      “People who don’t have a car” describes 35% of households
      37% of people take transit to work
      11% walk
      2% bike

      • Exactly, and even if every minor and ever senior citizen was living with a working age adult, that would still comprise less than half of all households.

        The majority of households in this city are comprised of working age adults without dependents. Only 1/3 of which commute by car to work.

      • According to DDOT, it is as high as 7 percent biking in some neighborhoods

  • Moral of all these inane comments:

    Do your own math.

  • I owned a car until a month ago. I owed no money on it as it was 15 years old and had been sold to me for a song by a relative when I was in college. This is why I got rid of it:

    -DC Registration/Inspection/Licensing: $250/year
    -Insurance: $32/month
    -Gas: ~$3/gallon at 14 gallons/month (I don’t drive much) = $42/month
    -Parking: free at home (and I don’t drive to work where it is $11/day)
    -Parking Tickets: at least 2/month (most incorrectly issued) at $20-50 each. I gave in and paid most of them because dealing with the appeals process was not worth it. Total spent: $360

    Instead, I bought a nice commuter bike and ride it to work every day. (It’s already paid for itself in terms of metro savings) I made back what I had spent on my car in the last couple of years by selling it and also save by cutting my monthly metro contribution (it was $80/month which was more than adequate for commuting and social activities, now it’s $20 and that gets me through rainy days and weekend get-togethers that aren’t bike-friendly).

  • Oh! And I got a zip car membership for those times when a car is just nice to have. So far I spent $35 to join (thank you, Groupon) and haven’t even gone through my $50 in free driving yet. But even with future heavy use it will continue to be cheaper than driving and maintaining my car (without car payments).

  • Yeah — they required writing and faxing a letter, incuding evidence (photos, etc) and then the ticket penalty increased and so I had to hassle them about THAT.

    Still haven’t heard the result of my appeal, and the ticket remains in limbo on my record.

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