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Friday, January 25, 2008

THE PRICE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION



I'm a huge fan of public transportation here in Washington DC. We live a short three minute walk from both a train station and two different bus lines. Neither David nor I drive to work/school, and we never have. We rely on Metro for most of our transportation needs and are seriously thinking about selling our car (if you want/need a 2000 VW Jetta with approximately 60,000 miles let me know).

That said...

The price to ride metro - both the trains and buses - increased at the beginning of the month and I'm frustrated. This is the third fare hike since I moved to the DC area. The base train fare increased from $1.35 per ride to $1.65 per ride. Bus fare only increased for passengers paying with cash (if you use your SmarTrip card, bus fare is still $1.25). The price increase has had a dramatic impact on my commuting budget. During the fall semester, it cost me $2.10 to travel between the Georgia Ave/Petworth train station and the College Park station. Now it costs $2.50. And if I take the 3:30 train home from Baltimore, I have to get off at the Greenbelt station (b/c it is an express train that skips the College Park and Riverdale stations) and it costs me $3.05. Unbelievable! A 15 minute ride, five stops, costs me more than $3.00.

In an effort to save as much money as possible (in light of the fare hike), I have made the switch from the MARC train monthly pass, which included a 15% student discount, to the MARC/Metro Transit Link card. The card gives me unlimited rides on Metro buses and trains, as well as unlimited trips to/from Baltimore --- for JUST $230.00 per month. Ultimately it is cheaper than driving the 65 miles to Baltimore everyday and more environmentally friendly to take public transit. Plus I can study, sleep, and eat on the train. However the price of my trips to/from the MARC station on the Metro trains is irritating. I'd rather spend my money on trips, home-improvements, or a good bottle of wine than on commuting...

1 comment:

Jill said...

Jill + Metro = T.L.A.