TZ Express – Day 2

Here’s the cost breakdown for crossing the bridge in the truck.

1) The truck get’s 16 miles to the gallon. It is 15 miles (a little less) each way. Gas costs a minimum of $4 per gallon. That’s $7.50 per day. (Gas is supposed to hit $5 this weekend and maybe $7 or $8 before the end of the summer.)

2) Parking costs $90 per month. I like to figure I work 20 days per month so that is about $4.50 per day to park.

3) The TZ bridge toll is $4.50 one way, but I have the commuter plan which is $2.00 each for 20 trips.

Total cost (not counting wear and tear, depreciation, maintenance and insurance) is about $14.00 per day. I like to think in terms of before tax so I can count the cost as fraction of my gross salary. That would be more than $20 a day. That means that I have to have to make an extra $4,800 per year to pay for the cost of commuting.

This is actually cheap compared to the commute to wall street that I used to make. That was about $30 a day before taxes, but I was making $75/hour, but (sigh) those days are long gone and I have to count my pennies.

1) The bus costs $1.05 each way.

2) I have to drive 2 miles each way to catch the bus. That’s $1 per day. I could walk to the bus, and I should, but so far that hasn’t happened, as I need that extra half hour of sleep in the morning.

The Bus to work costs me $3.10 per day. I will be saving net after taxes about $11 per day which is $2,650 per year. (That’s about $4,000 of my salary in savings.)

So, there is no logical choice but to take the bus.

An interesting point; you would think that the bus would be crowded with the economics so far in favor of the bus over driving. The bus, however, is only about half full. Almost everyone get’s a seat to themselves with no one sitting next to them.

The morning bus leaves at 8:04am. There are two busses, an express and a local. The Express doesn’t go all the way to my job, but stops only a block away. I can take either. They arrive at 20 or 10 minutes before 9. If I miss the first, I can take the next. If I miss either, I can get to work a little late by waiting a half hour. The bridge is normally backed up, but the schedule seems to take this into account.

There are several types of people on the bus.

First, are business people, mostly women, who are on their way to an office in White plains. There are not many men, so I guess us macho American types prefer to drive our gas guzzlers to work.

Second, are non-office workers going to jobs in White Plains. These might not have cars or the money to guzzle their way across the bridge.

Third, are families. There are always several women with children and couples who take the bus, but I am not sure why.

Last, are drug addicts going across the bridge to score crack in the relatively urban White Plains, or Yonkers. White Plains has a daytime weekday population estimated at 250,000 and is a conduit for drugs coming out of NY City. Westchester County has a resident population of about a million and would be considered a major urban center if it were not overshadowed by New York City just to the south.

In the morning there are mostly office types, mostly women. In general, the riders seem to be about half from India. The rest are Hispanic or Haitian.

The 4:30pm bus, coming back to West Nyack, is non-office workers. I would guess that most office workers would return at 5:30pm or 6:00pm. As a county worker, I am limited to working 7 hours a day because of the unions here, even if I am not in the union. I can get out of work at 4:30 and that is the major appeal of this job.

The bus is bouncy and I am prone to car sickness. The bus fumes are nauseating. I listened on my iPod to part of Ayn Rand’s the Fountainhead (pretentious crap) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson (second rate William Burroughs). I finally settled on Jack London’s The Sea Wolf, which is as good as it gets. I might bring a print book to read if I can fight off the motion sickness. I have an older tiny Toshiba Satellite laptop computer from Justine that is very cute, but a little slow. It is light and I can use it to try some writing. I have to charge up the battery and see how long it lasts.

One of these days I will have to get some pictures of the trip.