I have to confess that I’ve started driving to work. If it’s not dark in the evening when I leave work, it’s dark by the time I’ve walked all the way home and some days, it’s even dark out when I walk to work in the mornings. So, it’s become a feeling of being unsafe walking to and from work and I feel like the best solution to that for now is to just drive.
How far is my walk? To my current office, it is about 1.5 miles, which takes about half an hour to walk.
What about taking public transit? Despite both living and working in the city and it not actually being that far from my condo to my office, there aren’t any convenient public transit routes. The fastest one would shave 4 minutes off the walking route and is 60% walking anyway, so that doesn’t really help the darkness problem.
Driving takes me about 10 minutes.
- My car gets about 30 mpg in the city, so each round trip to/from work costs me about 0.1 gallons of fuel. I was already driving to work on average 1.5 times per week because I needed my car immediately after work, without walking the half hour home to grab the car. Turning that into 5 times per week is an increase in fuel usage of 0.3 gallons of fuel per week or 1.2 gallons per 4 weeks. Additional cost of fuel per 4 weeks: ~$5
- I’ve been averaging around 400 miles per month since buying my car two years ago. My car manual recommends service every 6 months or 5,000 miles. An additional 9 miles per week or 36 miles per 4 weeks wouldn’t force me to take my car in for service any sooner.
- My car insurance currently has a “low mileage” commute discount, so my insurance wouldn’t go up.
- My employer reimburses up to a certain dollar amount of parking per month. This allows me to drive ~7 times per month without having to pay anything out-of-pocket (once reimbursements come in and assuming I file the expense reports, which I do faithfully). Driving 20 times per month would cost me almost $300/month in daily parking charges. I could apply for a monthly parking spot which would run me under $100/month out-of-pocket.
I absolutely love the walk to and from work! I hate driving, as I find the afternoon traffic quite stressful. I find the half hour walk quite relaxing.
But mostly, I really don’t want to pay for almost $300/month out-of-pocket in daily parking charges. I foresee the evening darkness being a problem probably through February or maybe March, so let’s say 4.5 months. Those few months would easily cost me $300 more out-of-pocket than paying out-of-pocket for the monthly parking pass for an entire year. I wish my employer subsidized a certain amount per year, rather than per month because I don’t usually use up the monthly subsidy each month…
My boyfriend and my mom have told me to just drive because neither of them wants me walking home alone at night in the dark. Some of the areas I walk through aren’t super safe or simply aren’t the greatest lit. One of my guy friends used to tell me to “man up” and just walk and I’d be fine, but walking that far in the dark still sketches me out. I don’t listen to music or anything while I’m walking, so it’s not like I wouldn’t hear people around me.
Another alternative would be to maintain a more regular work schedule that allows me to get home before the sun sets and leave for work after the sun rises. In order to catch that, I would need to leave for work around 7:30 am and leave work for home around 4 pm. I think that it is probably do-able since my work schedule is quite flexible and honestly, I prefer going in to work early anyway. I just need to make that a routine, which is super hard when you’re used to it not mattering what time you get to work :)
One last alternative: walk to work (daylight then) and pay for a cab home. Even taking the most expensive cab option in my city would be $13 per way. If I could expense that, the cost would be quite comparable to the monthly parking pass out-of-pocket. Taking a slightly cheaper cab ride would make it come out to very little out-of-pocket cost, assuming that I could expense it. The taxi option is also the most flexible because it doesn’t require any commitments like the monthly parking pass does.
After much thought, my solution for now is to try to make the routine working hours, which are my preferred working hours anyway and walking is completely worth it to me to adjust my work schedule.
Readers, what would you do?