Commuting Choices

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At long last our offices are now up in San Francisco so I am no longer taking the automobile down the freeway to work each day. Now the choices of how to get to the office abound:

1. The bus can take me from Alameda to the Transbay bus terminal. There is a stop about five blocks from my house for the morning and the return lets me off just three blocks from home. On the San Francisco end, it’s a good 15 minute walk to the office through a dreary (in the rain at least) fringes of the warehouse district. There are three different bus routes to choose from, including a fancy coach-like bus (The “OX” Express) that has cushy seats and nice lighting.

Cost? $3/each way, $100/month if you buy a monthly pass.

Pros? Can drop Tyler off at school on the way to the bus stop if we motivate early enough. It’ll be nice to walk with him to school each morning when the weather gets better.

Cons? The folks that ride the bus seem a bit ground down – usually clutching crumpled up and slightly damp newspapers. With fogged up glasses and overstuffed shoulder bags, these are the worker bees.

2. There are two ferries, one from the West End of the Island and the other over in Harbor Bay. I’ve only taken the Harbor Bay but it certainly is a treat. A 15-minute bike ride along a bike trail (no traffic lights, beautiful views of the bay) takes you to the ferry dock where boats leave on the half-hour. The riders are definitely the movers and shakers, overheard conversations are of family vacations in the tropics and visits to ivy league alumni events.

Cost? Pricy at $5.50/each way, includes a “gasoline surcharge”, $150 if you buy a monthly pass.

Pros? If you absolutely must ignore the views, they have wireless. They sell coffee in the morning and beers at the bar for the ride home.

Cons? There’s a sign up for an emergency email list which indicates to me that this service is not totally reliable. At $150/month you’re talking about a $1800/year commitment.

3. I could still take a car to work and most likely will on days when I have to drive somewhere later in the day. It’s a real grind but do-able if you go either *real* early or after 9 am. Trouble with going after 9 am is that all the good city parking spots are gone so you end up paying for it on the other end. Going home is a drag too b/c of the traffic on the bridge, bring good music for the radio!

Cost? $3 going into the city on the tolls or you can go free in the carpool lane if you pick up 2 riders on the way over. Parking is the kicker – some places advertise an “early bird special” of $8/day but you need to get there fast. Usually it’s more like $10 – $15.

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