Megan lives within 10 miles of me in Silicon Valley but I’ve never met her. Her challenge: getting to a medical appointment two cities away without driving or biking after surgery. For her entry into the Anything Goes Commute Challenge, she compares hitching a ride with a friend vs taking the bus. This is her story.
Because of recent surgery, I can’t drive my car or ride a bike for a few weeks. I needed to get to the medical clinic for some tests and I considered taking a friend up on her offer of helping me during my convalescence, but it just didn’t seem right to ask her to drive a total of about 40 miles just to get me to the clinic that is only seven miles from my house. My solution was to get a family member to drive me to the clinic then take the bus home.
Driving to the clinic: Driving during Monday morning commute traffic using mostly Central Expressway and Evelyn Avenue took 30 minutes. Cost: It’s hard to analyze. My best guess is $2 to travel seven miles. [Editor's note: US federal reimbursement rate is 56.5 cents/mile so I'm estimating it at $3.95]
Transit home from clinic: The return trip home took 58 minutes by walking and taking the VTA 22 bus. Considering the fact that the return trip from the clinic was during mid-morning which meant that the local bus that I transferred to from the 22 was running only every 30 minutes, I think that only 58 minutes to return home was not too bad. If I had taken the 522 Rapid bus, I probably could have traveled home even faster.
Cost: $4 ($2 for each leg of trip home). Note to self: figure out how to buy a day pass using the Clipper card.
LadyFleur had recently mentioned using an iPhone app for the VTA bus routes so I checked it out then bought it while at the clinic when I was between appointments. After using the SJ Transit app for this morning’s trip, I find that I really like it. It helps me overcome my hesitation to using the VTA bus system to get places since I don’t always have a paper schedule with me. Frankly, the paper schedules were harder for me to use than this app.
The Clipper card is another innovation that has helped me get out of my car and on to the bus. As an infrequent bus rider, it was always hard to make sure I had exact change for a bus trip. Scanning a Clipper card is much easier than digging around in my purse for $2.
Sorry, but while juggling my iPhone, checking the timer on my phone, checking the SJ Transit app for route info and watching for my bus stop, I didn’t take any photos.
Never fear, Megan, I took your bus challenge and snapped some photos on the trip. After digging up my old transit maps I realized it had been almost 20 years since I’d ridden the bus! Thanks for getting me back on the bus, and even more for taking the Anything Goes Commute Challenge.