Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bus commute: does not compute

I started working half-time at UMass a few weeks ago (in the Computer Science department, working on the Rexa project), and have been experimenting with the best way to get to work.

According to Mr. Google, it's about two miles from my house to my new office:

I've tried getting to work by driving, bicycling, walking, and riding the bus. When it's dry and the roads are clear, bicycling is clearly the way to go-- it's quick (maybe ten minutes, door to door), environmentally friendly, and inexpensive.

I'll ride in the rain, but really wish there was a good place to park my bike out of the elements when I got to UMass (getting my recumbent through three sets of doors into my office is not an option). I asked the parking office if there was any sort of covered bicycle parking on campus, but they're all about the cars.

Driving makes me feel guilty (it just isn't efficient to take a thousand pounds of car to work with me), but it's the most practical way of getting there when the roads are too slippery to ride. I've got an occasional parker permit; parking costs $1 per day, and it's a little quicker than riding.

Riding the bus almost works; it takes me 3 minutes to walk to the PVTA bus 30 stop near my house, and another 5 minutes or so to walk to my office from it's nearest stop on campus. It's about a 15 minute ride in between, so it normally takes about 25 minutes to take the bus each way. Except for the other night, when the 5:05 bus didn't show up until 5:20 (or maybe didn't show up at all-- the buses run every 15 minutes), and it took me almost an hour to get home.

If I pay myself a "living wage" of $12/hour for extra time spent on the bus, and if I subtract money spent driving and parking, I figure riding the bus costs me $5/day. If I pay myself my actual salary, that jumps up to over $20/day. Hmm.

If I walk, I'm home in about half an hour. Reliably. And I get some much-needed exercise, to boot. Wave when you see me hiking down Triangle Street!


Larry Kelley said... make $48 per hour! I knew I should have been a computer geek. Only at Umass. But then, the pencil neck, mid-level Vice Chancellors make twice that.

And, I suppose, they could afford to steal away one of our Planning Staff by giving him an $18,000 raise (and no night committee meetings with the all the do-gooder goofs.)

What the hell, just raise the tuition.

But didn't the little darlings just launch a strike not long ago because of high tuition? Hmmm...

Gavin Andresen said...

Hmm, need to check my math, I don't make $48/hour.

Let's see, $34/hour (what I'm actually making, and less than I'd make if I wanted to take a higher-stress full-time job someplace other than UMass) times 2/3 of an hour (forty extra minutes to ride the bus) is about $22. Minus $2 for parking and gas/maintenance is $20.

The $12/hour math works out to $8 minus the same $2 for gas/maintenance...