Long Commute

For 7 years, I had the best commute. The joke was the vertical distance is longer than horizontal. Where I lived was merely 2 blocks away from where I worked. I saw my work building outside of the window at my dining position at home. This changed since late July. I have been commuting to San Francisco, from Cupertino. It felt like pay-back time.

The door-to-door distance, by driving, is about 50 miles. By IRS standard rate of 53 cents and a rough guess of $30 parking. It is about $80 per day plus about 2 hours of driving time. No one really think about the IRS standard reimbursement rate for their commute. I was, however, quite stressed over the hour-long driving each way. I wouldn’t be able to hold the job long with it. There needed to be alternatives.

Like other companies in Silicon Valley, mine offer free shuttle services. It departs at 7:30am and 8:30am and takes 90 minutes one-way. It is a small passenger van. The ride was bumpy and seat uncomfortable. I was bored and a bit car-sick on the ride. I determined that it wouldn’t work.

In terms of time spent on the road, the second fastest way, than driving all the way, is to drive to San Bruno and take BART for the rest of the way. This means driving about 35 miles one-way (40 minutes), about 25 minutes of BART ride. The ticket will be $4.30, one way. I will spend $2 on parking. At the Montgomery BART station, I will walk about 2 city blocks to the office. The cost is about $48 per day.

To reduce driving even further, I can take Caltrain from Sunnyvale. From there, I can connect to BART at Millbrae or get off at San Francisco. If latter, I will cover 1.4 miles with either SF MUNI bus ($2.50) or on-foot. BART will costs $4.65, the train ticket is either $5.75 or $7.75, parking at Sunnyvale station costs $5.50 per day. Overall, it costs $26 per day (either option) and about 100 minutes one-way. The rides are comfortable.

I can even eliminate the drive to Sunnyvale by taking a VTA bus ($2) there. That’s about 10 extra minutes. This is the cheapest option at about $25 per day. It takes the longest time for about 2 hours one way, quite comfortable and relaxing.

I really never spent so much time thinking of commuting before. I was quite shocked at the costs of more than $400 each month. (IRS allows the company to subsidize $200.) I am quite surprised at the number of people on this same journey. Commuting from South Bay to the City appears to be a common thing in the valley now. Everyone of those commuters had gone through the same options as I had.

For now, I actually don’t quite mind the commute. The train rides are relaxing. I read, sleep, or work. The hour passes quickly. I also work from a closer-by location several times a week. This has not become a stress factor for my life.

Let’s wait and see…

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