David Lazarus of the LA Times decided to check out assorted mass transit option from his Westside home to the Times downtown offices. He found the journeys to be exactly what he expected: “impractical, inconvenient and frequently uncomfortable.” However, with gas costs skyrocketing, he found the cost savings irresistable.
…it costs, on average, 23 cents a mile to drive a car with gas at $4.50 a gallon… Let’s say your round-trip commute is 40 miles a day — a conservative estimate for lots of people, I know. Factoring in the $1.25 one-way cost of many bus tickets, you’d save almost $350 a year by leaving your car at home one day a week… If you could pull off two car-free days a week, that’s about $700 in savings. And that doesn’t include what you’d save on parking.
Interesting argument. But here’s what I don’t get: he’s a writer – does he really need to travel into the Times’ office five days a week?
Lazarus offers assorted solutions for making LA’s mass transit more efficient and appealing, from adding listing schedules on google.com/transit to closing Olympic Blvd. to all but buses during rush hours, but if his goal is to make getting to work easier and cheaper, he overlooks the simplest solution: bring work closer to home, and in this day and age, telecommuting should be embraced as much as possible.
As for how Lazarus stacked the assorted transit option against each other…
Local bus lines
Getting from my home on the Westside to The Times’ downtown office took about an hour and a half. Returning home that evening took almost two hours. That’s 3 1/2 hours for a 32-mile round-trip commute that usually takes me about 45 minutes each way by car.
Commuter Express bus
There are only two such buses in my area each morning, one at 7 and the other at 7:30. That’s about an hour earlier than when I typically leave home by car.
At that hour, it took only about 40 minutes to get to work. But it took almost twice as long to get home after leaving the office around 5 p.m.
Red Rapid Buses
I rode a local bus to Wilshire Boulevard and transferred to one of the big, red Rapid buses that traverse the city. You cover a lot of ground relatively quickly with the Rapid lines, although Wilshire’s no picnic during rush hour, and some parts of the road are so bone-jarring you might want to stop off at a chiropractor.
At Wilshire and Western Avenue, I switched to the Purple Line and rode the subway the rest of the way.
The commute took a little over an hour to get downtown and about an hour and a half to get home.