Instead of taking the bus, why not just work from home?

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 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.

Read the whole thing here.

8 thoughts on “Instead of taking the bus, why not just work from home?”

  1. Mark here… my travels having taken me to many REAL cities, I dearly wish the my favorite almost-real-city, Los Angeles, had some kind of viable public transport solution.

    Sadly, this is not the case, and won’t be in any of our lifetimes.

    Hello, $10 a gallon gas!

  2. I don’t know why more people don’t make an effort to live close to where they work. I’ll be moving in the fall and you can be sure I’m going to be living in the best neighborhood I can find within 3(ish) miles of where I work.

  3. More people don’t make an effort to live closer to their work ‘cos they can’t afford it.

    I’m fuming that my Big Giant Corporate Job won’t allow me to work from home one day a week, despite the fact that I, too, am a writer. And we have VPN.

  4. I might just be a little old-fashioned – but I don’t think I’d get much done if I worked from home.

    I remember I had this one job working for this company called Diagnostic Research (where, at the time, Gwen Stefani’s dad worked joke) – any how..they once let me take some work home to do over the weekend.

    I don’t know if it’s just me but when I’m not at work, I don’t “feel” like I’m at work…so I’m not in a productive mentality.

    I wouldn’t get nearly as much done at home as I would by going into work. Plus – I simply just need to get out of the house for 8-10 hours a day, ya know?

    – AP

  5. Aaron, as one who has worked from home for the last eight years (mostly) I have to say it did take some getting used to, but I wouldn’t change back to an office job without some serious compensation. Now that I’m used to it, I feel I can be more efficient without all those other people to distract me.

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