Speaking as the person who racked up 110,000 miles on his car over the past six years – much of it attributed to traveling to and from customer locations around New England – I wholeheartedly think this is a great investment in Connecticut.
To begin with, I would have taken the train more often when I worked for Microsoft if I could have. Over the course of my career there I had customers in Connecticut – Trumbull, Berlin, Groton and Bristol – nowhere close to the rail lines for the most part. In Rhode Island I had them in Providence; the trains on that segment of the rail lines were not conducive to commuter traffic. The customers I had in Massachusetts and New Hampshire were the same too – way too far off the rail lines to make it economically feasible. At the same time it wasn’t conducive to the amount of hours in the workday either.
I am writing this blog post from Metro North. Using my phone as a 3G hotspot, I am posting this online on my way to my present employer Bloomberg in Manhattan.
To perhaps suggest that people from the Wallingford area wouldn’t use the commuter rail line into New York City is inaccurate. There’s a co-worker of mine on the 5:40 that drives from Southington to New Haven to catch the train. There are many others getting on at Union Station in New Haven; I haven’t surveyed where everyone is from but I am sure they are not all from New Haven.
I can do work while I am riding in. I can read the newspaper. I can chat with people (on the ride home – it’s more or less understood in the AM that you’re going to not be carrying on a lot of conversation for the most part.)
Most likely, I’ll finish this post and the online copy of the RJ and nap from Stamford to Grand Central.
The time on the train is mine and I blow by traffic sitting at a standstill on I-95.
The cost for my monthly rail pass is $385.00 and it costs me $85.00 for the monthly parking pass at the Temple Street Garage (Union Station has about a two year waiting list).
When you divide that into 22 workdays you’re talking about a daily expense of about $22.00.
You can’t even park in the city for less than twice that amount.
There is going to be way less wear and tear on my car once this all comes to pass on the New Haven / Springfield corridor.
I’ll be walking the two miles to the station from my house.
The only way this could get any better would be if I could take a deduction on my taxes.
I realize the real cost of the train fare is subsidized. If I had to pay twice as much I wouldn’t necessarily like it but I would still do it as it is more economical than the alternative.
If we need to subsidize anything then the American worker is something I am going to pick every time.
There are uses for the train beyond commuting to work.
If there is a spur into Bradley International Airport just think of the ease of having someone drop you off at the Station in Wallingford or Meriden or where ever it is close for you and stepping off the train about an hour later at Bradley. No long drive there, no parking fees, no worries if your plane is late getting in as the trains will probably run every hour or so.
I could probably justify going down to one car in my household – four kids and all. The savings on insurance, taxes and upkeep would pay for any personal additional costs of taking the train from Wallingford to New Haven if I were to go that route.
For those that say the New Haven / Springfield line wouldn’t carry the ridership to justify the costs I say look at the success of Shoreline East from Old Saybrook to New Haven before you pass judgment.
How many cars are not on the road along those points due to that commuting option? How much in emissions is removed on a yearly basis? How much in total over the years?
I believe all the pluses outweigh the minuses.
The best part is you still have freedom of choice. You can always still take your car if you really need or really want to.