This is a post from December 2010. Now that gas prices are skyrocketing, it’s definitely worth your time to consider other forms of transportation.
At my company, we can file an expense report to get $30/month reimbursement for public transportation. Now, 30 bucks is not a lot toward train tickets. A one way ticket costs
$2.35 $2.40 and I need to get two tickets every day. $30 only buy 6 days of tickets, about 25% of the work month.
I try to split my commute to half driving and half public transit. The $30 does make a big difference for me because without this incentive, I probably would drive everyday. It takes 30 minutes to drive to work and about one hour on the public transit. One hour is a long time, but I usually have a finance book to read or just take a nap.
Why do I split driving and public transit? It’s because driving in a traffic jam makes me nuts. I hate it with a passion. If there is a traffic jam, it could take more than an hour to slog through the traffic to get home and I’d rather be snoozing on the train. If traffic is clear, I would be happy to drive to work everyday because half an hour goes by pretty quick (17 miles.) So why don’t I take public transport everyday? If you take public transport, you would already know the answer to this question. Noisy people on the cell phone talking about some crazy intimate subject, ripe homeless folks, punk kids being annoying, iPods that I can hear 5 rows away, and many more fine upstanding citizens share my ride. My noise canceling head phones went out a while back so now I’m using cheap earbuds which can not adequately block out the humanities. So yes, I just split driving and public transport so I don’t get too bored.
In any case, back to the subject at hand, it only takes about 5 minutes to fill out the form on the network and print it out. I think $30 for 5 minutes is a pretty darn good ROI! Also, I don’t have to pay tax on these $30 pops and I love anything that’s tax free.
I wish the company would give a bit more toward public transportation though. $50 would be just about right, 2 weeks of tickets. During the internet bubble, I got yearly passes for free. Ahh… the good old days.
Am I being cheap or is this a nice frugalicious move?
<2012 update> I’m taking public transportation a bit less these days. I drive baby RB40 to the daycare when the weather is bad and then just drive to work. I still take public transport once or twice a week, but plan to increase that in the summer. When the weather is a bit nicer, it will be easier to wait for the bus with a baby. If gas prices continue to rise, it will soon cost more to drive to work than taking the bus and light rail. Check if your company will reimburse for public transportation because it can save you some money every month.