Every morning I leave my abode and travel 13 miles to downtown DC. In the evening I return. Here are the options presented to me (I am not including riding my bike - which I do most days when the weather is nice cause most people don't do that. Incidently, it is the fastest and most cost efficient method of commuting).
I wake up at 6:30, shower and dress and head out the door to the Cherokee by 7:15. It takes me 30 minutes to drive into work at this hour. I park my car for $10 a day (early bird special) two blocks from my office. Its a five minute walk to the building.
At the end of the day I make the same five minute walk back to the garage (on my own schedule), wait another 5 minutes, and then take the 45 minute commute back home.
If we assume that I average 13 mpg in city driving and gas costs me $2.00 a gallon (I actually paid $2.05 the other day) the total cost is $14.00 a day ($10 for parking plus $4 in gas - I don't include wear and tear as I assume it will occur anyway on the car, though in reality if you don't commute with your car it lasts a lot longer) plus 1 hour and 25 minutes commuting time.
Bus to Metro
Same wake up routine - though I need to rush cause if I miss the 7:18 bus I have to sit around wasting time until 7:45. If I miss the 7:45 bus (or it simply fails to show) I need to sit around wasting even more time until the 8:25 bus comes.
5 minute walk to bus stop.
Cost of bus to East Falls Church Metro - $1.25 for the 20 minute bus ride
Fare to Farraguat West - $2.15 for the 17 minute train ride that often times stretches at rush hour in to a 30+ minute ride.
5 minute walk to the office.
In the evening, of course, we reverse course.
5 minute walk to Metro.
$2.15 for the train (crowding is always worse in the evening and sometimes it invovles waiting (sardine can like on the platform) for 30 minutes before a train can come by and actually fit people in. The ride to East Falls Church takes another 25 minutes.
If I timed everything right, the bus is waiting for me to take me home - otherwise, as usually happens - there is a 15 or so minute wait. Return trip on 20 minute Metrobus in the evening - $0.35 (transfer special)
5 minute walk home.
Total Cost - $5.90 plus anywhere from 90 to 150 minutes of my time.
Drive To Metro
Same wake up schedule as driving in.
5 minute drive to West Falls Church.
Parking at the new garage is $3.75 all day. 5 minute walk from parking to train.
Metro to Farraguat West - $2.50 for a 20 - 50 minute train ride (today it took 30 minutes)
5 minute walk to office.
In the evening, I have another $2.50 train ride home (and again, crowding is always worse so that it takes somewhere between 20 minutes and 50 minutes to get back to West Falls Church. Once there, its a 5 minute walk to my car and a 5 minute ride home.
Total cost - $8.75 plus 60 to 120 minutes of my time.
Actually, after running the numbers I am a bit surprised. I would have thought metro commuting was more expensive. Still, time is money - and I work hard enough (though I am blogging about this and not working right now but thats another story) that I value my time significantly and others in DC do so even more. When you factor in the time and inconvienience, its pretty clear why more people don't bother with Metro.