Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taking bus/train to work

Recently, starting from July 30th, I have become one of those growing number of people who commute to work using public transportation. Yes, last July 30th was my very first time. I read about the trend but the idea of doing it myself never occurred to me until I saw my coworker biked to work. It's one of those things that you know in the back of your head until something triggers it. I started with research such as using internet, went to the transportation office, my coworker, my company's resources, and analysis. Having lived in Sydney, Australia, learning about public transportation is a familiar territory to me.

The growing number of people using public transportation is the result of the rise of the gas price. Part of my research was on the cost benefit. The following is my analysis.

Driving to work cost analysis:
1. Driving to work is 26 miles (round trip) which cost about 1 gallon of gas, let's say $3.50.
2. On average the value of a car goes down between 10 to 20 cents/mile depends on the model of the car (and other factors). Newer car would be even more. Suppose we go by 10 cents/mile, let's say you drive 12000 miles a year, the value of your car would go down by about $1200. 26 miles driving to work cost me $2.6 in lost value.
3. Let's say I spend about $500/year for car maintainance and repair. $500 x 26 / 12000 = $1.08
The total cost for driving 26 miles to work is about $7.18.

Taking a bus to work cost analysis:
1. I purchase bus Super Saver from my company with pre-tax benefit. For example when I purchase $100 bus/train Super Saver, after pre-tax I end up paying only $60. When I transfer the $100 Super Saver to the bus/train card (called GoTo card), it adds 10% value to the card. Essentially I pay $60 for $110 bus/train card, only pay 55% of the nominal cost.
2. The bus ticket is $4 round trip. Since I only pay 55% of the nominal cost, essentially I pay only $4 x 55% = $2.18.
The total cost for taking public transportation is $2.18. That's a $5.00 saving for each trip to work.

Additional benefits:
1. There is a bus stop three blocks away from my house therefore it's pretty accessible.
2. There is a bus stop and train (Light Rail) just across the street from my company.
3. At least before winter hits, instead of going to the nearest bus stop, I choose to roller-blade to a bus stop more 5 miles away (10 miles round trip) to get some exercise.
4. Peace and quiet time while sitting on a bus/train. Even when I have a bad day, it allows me to calm and settle down. I often meditate spiritually including prayer and reflect my day and treasuring my past. A few weeks ago one of my best friends in elementary school (and we still kept in touch until a few weeks before his death) committed suicide. Sitting in a bus helped me to cope and treasured all of those great years with him. Sometimes your days can get very saturated. You get up in the morning and immediately hit the road and deal with traffic. Then comes a long day of work. By the end of the day you get back to the traffic, back at home and dealing with your family. The routine is just going and going. My mood has been better at home since I started taking bus/train to work. It takes 45 minutes instead of about 30 minutes driving (with moderate traffic and could be worse) but the extra time is well worth it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Our "baby" is all grown up, hick... hick... hick....

It doesn't feel like a long time ago since she was born. Now our "baby" is in kindergarten.

She was super excited to get into the bus for the very first time. Two hours before the bus scheduled arrival she was all awake in the morning and never stopped moving around the house while constantly watching the clock.

The bus driver was kind enough to allow us the time to take pictures and video. We couldn't help ourselves from shedding tears as the bus was leaving. Our "baby" is all grown up...... Then we just realized there was a long line of cars being held up ..... ooouppps.

New Baby !!!

For our family's safety reasons the baby's name is not revealed in this blog. Nevertheless we'll say a few other things about our new addition to the family. See the picture time stamps (click those pictures to zoom in) for the dates to tell how old the baby is.

She was born on Aug 27, at 9:35 AM, weight 7 lbs 6.5 oz (and yes, every half oz counts), 20 inches for length, and 14 inches for head. She was urinating on her way out of her mommy's tummy, I suppose she already knew how to mark her territory. Thank God she and her mommy have been healthy, we couldn't feel more blessing than that.

As parents we have been adjusting during the first week. Daddy has been taking care of the older kids. Putting them to sleep by having a "sleeping party", throwing a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor in the kid's play room. They seem to enjoy it. That way Mommy can focus on the baby at night and also get more rest, especially since she had a C-section and is a little slow moving.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008