Monday, December 18, 2006

To Drive or Not To Drive. . .

. . . that is the question.

So it's just before a new quarter at school, and I'm considering a question that man has wrestled with since before civilization began:

Should I take the Metro Rapid 761 bus to UCLA and back everyday, or should I pay for a parking permit and drive there?

It's basically weighing cost against convenience: If I buy a parking permit (as I have been for the last year or so), I can come and go when I want, and will have my car in the parking garage right next to my building at school. I can go between UCLA and our home in Sherman Oaks (~11 miles) via Beverly Glen, Sepulveda, or the 405, depending on traffic conditions, in anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour one-way. Also, on Tuesdays, when I go to the Aquarium in Long Beach, I can work at school for the morning, then hop in the car and drive down to LB in ~30 minutes on the 405, and having the car nearby in Westwood also frees me up to run errands on the way home (like stopping at the grocery store).

But a parking permit costs $171 dollars for the 12 week Winter Quarter, and of course, with gasoline costs, I end up paying closer to $300-$350 for gas/permit to get to/from UCLA all quarter. The alternative is to get a UCLA-discounted MetroPass, which would allow me to take the bus to/from UCLA all quarter for a total cost of $42.

So I'd save ~$300 over the quarter if I took the bus to school instead of the car, and of course I'd be producing less CO2 by not driving my car as much (the bus runs whether I'm on it or not), so the bus would be the "greener" option, I suppose. But I'd be sacrificing the convenience and freedom of showing up and leaving UCLA whenever I want. . . as well as taking slightly longer to get to school or home, given the bus' many stops.

Aquarium Tuesdays would probably be dealt with by me just working at home in the morning, and driving to Long Beach from Sherman Oaks, not going in to UCLA at all on that day.

hmmmmm . . .


alisa said...

If you have it in you, you should take the bus! It is greener and also healthier for you! you will probably work less and walk more too! I comes down to how motivated you are I guess :)

David said...

Decision is made: I will take the bus. Reg will sometimes drop me off at UCLA before heading to her school. . . but otherwise I'll be using my bus-pass.

We'll see if it drives me crazy or not. I used the bus for almost 2 years before I switched to car. . . hopefully I can fall back into that groove.