Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

By Mark Melnyk, Community Transit Transportation Demand Management Specialist

Since the point of working is to make money rather than spend money, I look for the most economical choices out there for my 20-mile commute. Well the usual suspects are taking the bus, joining a carpool or vanpool.

However, I don’t want to have to depend on other people to get from one place to another. This wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have an unusual schedule that makes it difficult for me to commit to a consistent schedule.
To be able to take one bus from where I live to where I work would be fantastic. Unfortunately, I’m left with a bus ride that leaves me short of my final destination. It seems that the only viable option I have is driving myself to work. But like I said, the point of my commute is to take me to a job to make money, not spend money on things like gas getting to work.

So what can I do to have the same freedom that comes with driving my car, and the cost savings that come with riding the bus?

The answer I found is riding my bike. Not the full 20 plus miles.
That is more of an effort than I want to make. But an effort I am comfortable making is taking a bus to a stop near my work and then biking the remaining mile or two to my destination, especially if the weather is nice.

Up until three weeks ago I always came up with “good reasons” to not bike to work. Then it happened. I became too tired of all the excuses and decided to focus on possible solutions. I went and had my bike checked out at Harvy’s Bike Shop, planed my route and let it roll. The first ride was a bit challenging, but like any habit, by sticking with it each ride has become easier and easier and more routine. Now I’m no expert, but what I am becoming is more confident in a commute mode that gives me the ability to get to where I need to be when I want to be there.

By incorporating a short bike ride into a bus commute, I am able to achieve the mobility I want on my terms while saving the money I work very hard for. While I’m still a million bucks shy of being a millionaire, I have more money than I would than if I was driving to work everyday and I get a nice little workout in that wouldn’t happen since I’m too busy normally.

Remember, May is Bike Month and there a ton of great events out there to encourage you to ride you bike. But for me, what makes my bike commute pay is the fact that I keep more money that I make without having to sacrificing my personal commute freedom.

As part of his job helping businesses help employees get to work smarter, Mark coordinates Bike to Work events in Snohomish County. He believes in being a good “roll” model for transportation choices.

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