Sunday, October 30, 2005

Light Rail

Sacramento light rail finally opened its newest route which now extends all the way to downtown Folsom. I’d previously been taking the train to work from time to time, getting off at what was then the last stop, and biking the final 8 miles to work. (Bikes are allowed on the train for no additional charge, if there’s room) This was okay, but seriously wasn’t that much faster than biking the entire 25 miles.

The new track would take me within 1 ½ miles from work. The bus system going from the light rail stations to the rest of the city, however, have much to be desired, despite supposedly being completely redesigned to work with the trains. Due to the large number of people (7000) working at my employer though, the transit company has implemented two shuttle in the morning, and two shuttles in the afternoon to go directly between the train stop and our campus. These are free, however, only one of them actually lines up with the train schedule in anyway whatsoever though (WTF?). Plus, I would be required to set an actual schedule in order to use the shuttles, which defeats the purpose of working for a high end tech company that allows me to come and leave as I please. This means I often still take my bike in order to make my own schedule (in half hour increments).

Here are the results:

Driving to work:
25 – 50 minutes each way, depending on traffic
Total commute time in a day: 50 – 100 minutes
Total time wasted in a day (time spent unproductively) 50 – 100 minutes

Biking to work:
5 – 10 minutes spent packing cloths ect.
65 minutes each way
Total time spent to commute in a day: 150 minutes
Total time wasted in a day: ?? Variable. I wouldn’t need to spend 2 ½ hours biking every day when I do have better things to do.

Light Rail/ with shuttle:
Walk to train station: <5 minutes
Train ride: 40 minutes
Shuttle: 5 minutes
Shuttle after work: 5 minutes
Wait for train: 20 minutes
Train ride: 40 minutes
walk back home: 5 minutes
Total commute time: 120 minutes
Total wasted time: 10-15 minutes (I use the time on the train/bus to write emails/blogs or read)

Light rail with bike:
House to train station: <1 minute
Train ride: 40 minutes
bike to work: 5 minutes
total commute time: 90 minutes
Wasted time: 10 minutes (I don’t consider any of the bike time wasted, but I won’t get a chance to park my bike on the train for the first 10 minutes of the morning ride due to crowding, so that time is wasted.)

Cost: $1.75*twice a day * 20 days a month - $30 subsidy from work = $35 dollars a month
Comparable gas spent in driving: 25 miles * twice a day*20 days*$3 per gallon/18mpg = $167 a month

Over all working well. Another down point, however, is that the city of Folsom doesn’t want the train to run past 7:00pm. They don’t want “drunkards” riding into their city. This inhibits working late, but also means that there will still be many, many drunk drivers going from downtown to Folsom every night. All of the young Folsomites I’ve talked to expressed interest in taking the train to go out in Sacramento, that still isn’t an option though.

I was even quoted in the Sac Bee.
Sac Bee


Blogger Nathan said...

"Folsom doesn’t want the train to run past 7:00pm. They don’t want “drunkards” riding into their city."

Talk about impractical. Way to endanger the lives of your citizens, Folsom! Big ups, yo!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Frick said...

Oh, you think that's good, catch this. Most of folsom is suburban swallor, however, there is a small pocket of a nice area surrounding the historic down town. The city, however, refuses to put in any bike racks in the down town area, because they wouldn't be "historic." Apparently they think the paved roads and parking lots date back to the gold rush???

9:08 AM  

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