Tuesday, July 8, 2008

All Aboard...Choo Choo...

I have now officially become a real commuter - I ride the train and the subway daily to get to work and back home. The distance one way is 60.3 miles, 1.5 mile from house to train station, 53.1 miles on the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) train and 5.7 miles on the DC Metro (subway) so round trip I'm doing 120.6 miles a day or 603 miles a week. I get the VRE at the Leeland Station and get off in downtown DC at the L'Enfant Station where I walk 1/2 a city block to the Metro station and grab the Orange line towards the Ballston Station which is right in front of the building I work in.

Let's do the math...603 miles a week divided by 18 miles per gallon (what my 2001 Ford F-150 with 103,000 miles on it gets) = 33.5 gallons (tank holds 24 gallons), 33.5 gallons times the current unleaded rate in our area of about $3.92/gallon = $131.32 /week times 4 weeks a month = $525.28

VRE Monthly ticket fare from Leeland Station to L'Enfant Station = $ 237.00 (daily round trip tickets cost $17.10 times 20 work days a month = $342.00 buying a monthly ticket results in a $105.00 savings).

Metro ticket $100.00 face value - subsidized through my company = $ 75.00 (company underwrites 25% of fare).

Total Monthly Cost to Commute = $312.00 which results in a $213.28 dollar savings over driving.

Now lets look at the time involved, it takes approximately 78 minutes to go from the Leeland Station to L'Enfant Station there are 9 stops including L'Enfant. Then about a 10 minute walk to get to the Metro Orange Line platform, then about 20 minutes on the Orange line to go 10 stops.
So that makes it 108 minutes not including about 5 minutes to go the mile and half from the house to Leeland Station, ok so that is about 113 minutes in total, or just under 2 hours one way, or roughly 4 hours a day. Considering the amount of vehicles on I-95 and I-395 I would anticipate that going the 58.8 miles would take at a minimum 2 - 3 hours one way, so I believe that the train is the best option. It goes through some of the Virginia back country, one of the stops is at Quantico, which is a large Marine Base, at times it parallels the coast line and you can see the water and boats, and crossing the Potomac River train bridge yesterday I had a view of a airplane on approach into Regan National Airport, that was quite a sight to see. Due to DC being flight restricted the southerly approach into DCA brings you south right down the middle of the Potomac with a very low and hard right to line up on final - the bridge is just about where the planes make the hard right for final, so this aircraft was probably about 500 feet about the Potomac as he passed over us.

You might think that is quite a long time but if you have read some of my prior posts when I was living in Woodbridge you know it took me as short as 50 minutes and up to 2 hours to only go 22 miles. In addition to the favorable financial impact of not having to drive I will arrive home in a much better mood which is beneficial to both Kari and Carson, and me too. I'm also saving 603 miles a week on my truck that should significantly extend the life of it.

I'm going to enjoy riding the train - maybe one of these days, Kari and Carson will be able to take it too, I know he will enjoy it.


Holly said...


Does the VRE or the Metro have wireless internet service? If so, you can save even more time checking email and posting on your blog.

Wayne said...

Not that I am aware of, my laptop can pickup wireless signals, I'll have to try that on the way home tonight and see.