05 October 2011

Commuting Costs, Part II

I live in New York City; I work in suburban New Jersey.  The round trip by car is 110 miles. There are many people who think I'm nuts, and people regularly tell me I should move, but I have reasons that seem reasonable to me.

Still: it costs.  The costs are mitigated by the schedule, which allows me to work at home a lot: I'm on campus three or four days a week during the semester, once a week most of the rest of the time.

I wrote last week about the economic costs. I also pay in time.

A round trip in the car takes around 3 1/2 hours; a round trip on the train, five.  Assuming I drive half the time and take the train half the time and average three and a half days a week on campus, I spend almost 15 hours a week in transit. 

It's not all dead time.  In the train, I get around 3 1/2 hours to work (or doze or just stare blindly out the windows), plus a cumulative hour of exercise at the ends of the trip.  In the car, I learn Greek from CDs or catch up on the phone with friends and family (yes, of course: hands free).  But it's not free time, either.

It makes the days long.  Yesterday, I left home at 7 a.m., got home at 4:30.  That's a short day; this morning I left at 8, and I'll get home around 8:30 tonight.

(That's assuming the trains run on time.  Don't ask me about last weekOr the week before that.)

Next week I'll tell you about the psychic costs of commuting.  Or about my apparently reasonable reasons.