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Thoughts on transportation – Day 3 of No Impact Week

January 4, 2011

So today is when we’re supposed to be looking at our transportation habits, and seeing what, if anything, we can do to make them lower-impact. Carpooling, ride-sharing, taking the bus or other public transit, cycling, walking… all good options. In looking at the Hubby’s schedule and checking out the options, I realized they’re somewhat limited… actually more than somewhat.

He works at a customer service call-center for a satellite tv provider, and so his mostly regular hours are subject to call flow – there have been days when they have to work overtime because the call volume is up, so carpooling or ride-sharing is out of the picture, since he doesn’t want to miss his ride home, or be responsible for someone else being late getting home. It’s an almost 11 mile trip from our house to his workplace, which would be an extremely long, cold walk or bike ride on the mornings when the overnight temperatures have dropped to the teens or 20s fahrenheit – a little over three hours on foot, or an hour cycling (if he sticks to bike paths, possibly shorter if he does mainly street riding).

Since those options aren’t really options, especially during the cold months here in Colorado, we looked at public transit – the bus. In order to take the bus and be able to be at his desk, logged in on his computer and ready to go by 8 o’clock, we figured an arrival time at the closest to work bus-stop by 7:45. He’d need to leave the house by 6:00 to make the first bus, and from there it would be 60 minutes before he’d be dropped off to walk the last 11 minutes of the trip – getting him to work about 45 minutes before he needs to be there… and that’s the closest time we could figure that still allowed for him to not be sweating (from having to run after leaving the bus) when he arrived at work. Mind you, by car, this trip is only about 25 minutes long. We talked about what it would mean for him to take the bus; leaving the house earlier means going to bed earlier by a couple of hours – lights out no later than 10:00, and getting home later – about 7 p.m., which means he’d only have about three hours to eat, visit with family, and unwind before it’s time for bed. This is not really an acceptable option for us – we’d be lowering our impact, but getting less time together… not a trade-off we’re willing to make.

This is going to be one of those areas that we can’t change right now… but we’ll keep watching for opportunities to do so. If something changes, we’ll recheck the options and possibilities. Who knows, next year, he may be using a different mode of transportation to get to work.

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