Friday Question of the Day – How Do You Commute to Work?

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

I figure we haven’t done a poll in a while so for the Friday Question of the Day – let’s talk commutes – how do you most often get to work/get around town?

Personally since I became a member of bikeshare I use the bikes in place of riding metro pretty often.

And since we talk about it a lot, I’m also curious how many folks are members of bikeshare?

And last but not least since I love sweet city rides – I’m curious how many in PoPville own a car?

58 Comment

  • christanel

    Is the choice of Metro inclusive of both the bus system and the train system?

    • Yes, you left out the bus. Expresses, Circulator and Cross townsare very important in this area during rush hour. Not so much during the day, when literally the complexion/nationality of ridership changes. That isn’t a flippant comment, but a reflection of the social economic realities of this city

    • I took “Metro” to mean any form of public transportation operated by WMATA, which includes Metrobus – that does leave out commuter trains and buses though.

    • Maybe it falls into the category of driving, and maybe it wouldn’t be applicable to enough PoP readers to be worthy of inclusion, but the Slug Line is also vital is getting people to work diring rush hour.

  • brookland_rez

    You forgot motorcycle/scooter

  • During the warmer months, I walk to the Metro, ride to work. When it’s chilly or rainy, I drive to work.

  • saf

    OK, I am currently unemployed, but BOTH my major modes of transport for commuting and general getting around are missing.

    (followed by walk, train, car, bikeshare.)

  • so interesting! The polls are set up as a slice in someone’s life at the moment. Thinking of my 20 years here in the area, I could have so easily answered differently for each and every question at every stage of my working/commuting/living life. IMO, when you rent you have more oppty to move closer to where you live; when you’re younger, you have the desire to be more proACTIVE in your commuting style; when you have more responsibilities, you have other people to think about in relation to your commuting time. When you invest invest in a community and buy, you’re limited by life’s situations. Interesting post and I hope this doesn’t turn into a “I’m right” and “you don’t understand” kind of thing.

    • oopth, meant for this sentence
      IMO, when you rent you have more oppty to move closer to where you live
      to read
      IMO, when you rent you have more oppty to move closer to where you work.
      But hey, if you live for work more power to you. It’s just so dang convenient to live close to work (to have such choices) and you have a much better shot of doing it if you rent.

    • I own and bike to work. It’s often a question of priorities. If you know what’s important to you that’s half the battle.

      • It worked the opposite way for me. When I was renting we were living in the ‘burbs to save money, and our only option was to sit in hellish traffic for 3 hours a day. Once my partner and I bought we were able to cash in on our sacrifices and buy in a location that was close to work (1.1 miles away in my case).

  • Drive to an unzoned street and walk about a mile the rest of the way.

  • Interesting poll. I take the bus because it goes literally from one block away from my house to two blocks away from work. It’s a reliable and relatively easy bus route, and I am not really metro accessible. I wish I could ride my bike, but the traffic downtown makes me nervous, as I am not the most confident biker in heavy traffic. In the winter, particularly when it is cold and dark at 5, even with bike lights I don’t trust myself and drivers to completely keep me in one piece.

  • I ride a motorcycle (ninja 250) from NE DC to the State Department, where I park for free. It takes me 20 minutes.

  • Car and driver


  • Walk to train, train to GUTS bus, GUTS bus to work.

    Rinse, repeat.

  • Right now, the polls show that 348 people own cars, but only 133 people use them to commute to work. Sure, not everyone voted on both polls, but that’s an interesting discrepancy. Car owners who don’t commute that way: What do you use your car for? I don’t ask this judgmentally–as a non-car owner with a walking commute, I’m genuinely curious.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      It’s an interesting question. My wife has a car and uses metro to commute. I’d say the car is most often used for grocery shopping and visiting friends that don’t live near metro.

    • Having recently moved out of the city, I will say I commuted to work via bus, but used my car for trips out of the city or to go shopping.

    • I have a car but do not usually commute to the office. However, my job involves performances at theaters around town and often schlepping around artists, so a car is very helpful. On the personal side, I would still have a car even if I didn’t need one for my job. I like to grocery shop and often buy heavy items, I like to go out of town, I just like the convenience. Some might say “just do Zipcar”, but I think I am too much of a Type A planner and want to know that *my* car is there when *I* want it and not have to worry about what type of car is available or lumping in errands together to drive for the shortest time possible.

    • I own a car, mostly as a hangover from my former life living in the MD burbs and working in the VA burbs. Now, 10+ years later I live and work in DC and rarely use the car. But it’s relatively cheap to keep it and very handy for trips to the store, visiting friends and family in the ‘burbs, occasional road trips, etc.

    • I use my care often in this city. But I am one of the few that think parking in DC isn’t actually that bad esp. with the advent of the park mobile app.

    • i own a car. sometimes i use it for work, sometimes i don’t. also, i bet if couples with one car take the poll, they each say they own a car, but maybe only one uses it for work.

    • I don’t fall into that category – but I’m thinking if you have kids I’m sure life is a bazillion times easier with a car.

      • This. While having a car if you have kids isn’t a 100 percent necessity, it makes your life about 100 percent easier.

    • I own a car but take Metro(rail) to work, because Metro is still cheaper, faster, and less stressful (most days) than driving. I’m lucky that I live and work very close to Metro and can still afford to have a car for the weekends.

    • My girlfriend and I share a car.

      When I was taking classes at GMU driving was the only way I could get there in time. My girlfriend also uses it to visit her mom out in NoVA because there’s really no way to get there without a car. I use it to visit my family up north. We also use it for odd errands (sure I could wak to the grocery store, but I’m usually getting heavy stuff like dog food so I’d rather drive).

      Our car expenses are minimal. The car has been paid off for years and does not require much maintenance. Since we don’t drive much we hardly spend anytihng on gas. We park on the street so there’s no cost there. My insurance is pretty low since I don’t use the car for commuting and only have liability, and I just signed up for Progressive’s Snapshot program so I’m hoping that cost will become even lower.

      That’s basically why we own a car– it’s not costing us much and it’s useful for certain things.

    • I’m like many of the other posters. I own a car and commute by metro or bicycle. I used to need the car to commute and since it’s paid for I’ve found the costs of maintaining this car versus using zip car are about even, so I’ve just held onto it. I use it to get to a non-metro accessible hobby once a week and then sporadically to go out of town, run errands, or visit friends that live on the opposite side of town on the weekends.

  • I skip to work

  • I have a love/hate relationship with the G2. No car, and I’d ride my bike more if I didn’t have to drag it up and down 4 flights of stairs every day or wear heels to work.

  • pennyworth

    i drive my awesome mustang to work.

  • Interesting poll! I’m impressed that 22% of respondents are Bikeshare members.

    I’ve been carless for 3 years in DC. Even though I don’t need one to get to work or to most places I go, I’m starting to want one. I just want to be able to go on spontaneous weekend trips. Zipcar just isn’t the same. And weirdly I don’t feel like a real adult without a car…

  • Assuming most people who read this blog live in DC, I am actually surprised how many people drive to work. I guess I do, but I live in Capitol Hill and work in Springfield, so I am always against traffic and it would take me way way longer to walk to the metro, ride the metro, and and then take a bus to my office building.

    I would have thought traffic wouldn’t be worth it for most people – or parking rates. Is it actually shorter for people to drive, or just a personal choice?

    • claire

      I have a reverse commute like you (live in Bloomingdale, work in Hyattsville), and driving is significantly faster, cheaper, and easier than using public transportation. I suspect that a lot of people who drive to work either have a reverse commute like us or live in a non public-transit-accessible suburb. The last time I went to my dentist in Dupont, the guy cleaning my teeth said he lives in *Fredericksburg* and has a two hour commute each way – I imagine he couldn’t even make that commute with public transit, and ditto for people who live out in West Virginia, etc.

    • Both. I live and work in the city. I can take the bus to work – it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours on bad days. But I prefer to drive since its much faster (about a half hour – I live and work close to Rock Creek Parkway), and because it offers me more flexibility for running errands/doing stuff after work. My parking is partially subsidized, so price isn’t a huge consideration.

  • I walk a block pushing a stroller, pull the stroller onto the bus with the kid, ride the bus for a mile with a kid on my lap, walk 3/10 of a mile pushing a stroller, catch a Metrobus or Circulator depending on whatever shows up first after dropping the kid off, take the Metro, change trains (or not, depending on which line I catch), and walk 1/4 mile to the office.

    So we need at least one option that says “bus and train” and maybe one for “bus and train and walk.”

  • I take a Metrobus to McPherson square, then the Metro to West Falls Chruch, then a Fairfax connector bus to another Metrobus to work. Yep, 3 buses and one 26 minute metro ride = ridiculousness, or why I’m looking for a job in the city.

  • I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon where everyone is complaining that their form of transport is not available but maybe there should be an option for “multiple modes”?
    I bike when the weather is nice or take the bus (which requires a combined 2 mile walk) or sometimes I take the metro if its cold or rainy. And occasionally, if I am really late I take a cab, which costs $10 and takes 12 minutes vs public transport which takes 45-60 minutes.
    That’s the best thing about the city, you have so many options. You’re not stuck on 66 or 270 or some godforsaken loop.

    • I picked “other” for this reason.

      Biking is my preferred mode of commuting, but I stopped doing it after the New Year– it’s just too cold and dark. It’s the fastest way to get there though.

      My workplace has a free shuttle from the metro (2 blocks from my house), so these days I usually do that. The nice thing about the shuttle is I can get some knitting done while I’m on it.

      If the weather’s nice and I have time I’ll do the 25-minute walk to work.

      On rare occasions (say if I need to go out to the suburbs after work) I’ll drive there. My office has a parking lot that’s free for employees, which is why almost everyone there drives.

      I could take the metro bus– it picks up directly in front of my house and drops off 4 blocks from my office– but there’s not much reason to.

  • drive to Rockville everyday… life is misery.

  • I generally take the bus (the X2), but sometimes walk (about 1.5 miles) and sometimes take the Metro, which is about a 10 minute walk from my apt. Now that there is a Capital Bikeshare station a bit closer to where I live, I will probably join.

    I figure that everyone who choses the Metro and/or bus options also does a little bit of walking, so I don’t see the need to have the walk and Metro or walk and bus as options.

  • I bike most days when ice/rain/extreme weather isn’t a factor. I do occassionally run the 6 miles to or from work but then I have to metro one way. We live 1 mile from the nearest metro stop so I have gotten in the habit of riding bike share to/from the metro. I responded “bike” in the survey, but as I’m sure is the case with almost everyone, that isn’t necessarily my choice every day.

    I personally had a car the first 6 months I lived in the city 9 years ago. And I haven’t ever wanted to own one since. But then I met my husband who uses a car for commuting to the burbs and I do enjoy going shopping or across town with it.

  • Bikeshare ROCKS. I have my own bike and usually ride that, but I also use the bikeshare–it is so awesome when I don’t want to carry my bike down the stairs of my apartment, etc.

  • I live in Columbia Heights and kinda do all of the above. In the mornings I walk 2 1/2 miles to work, but catch the bus home in the evenings. If I have to run errands, visit friends and relatives or go grocery shopping I’ll drive my 21 year old car. Except when I go to Whole Foods, I will walk to WF’s and catch the bus back. On any given day I use a combination of all of bus, drive and walk – it just depends on where I’m going and how much time I have to get my tasks done.

  • I bike to metro or occasionally walk to metro. If the weather is really crappy though, I’ll drive.

  • David Garber

    Metro in to work, but often bikeshare home.

  • I might be a weirdo for driving to work on sunny warm days, and taking transit (bus to metro) on nastier days. It’s all about not getting my car dirty. Then again, I own a convertible and I work at odd hours–so I often don’t get stuck in traffic on the way to work.

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