Archive for November, 2013

webfall commute challenge

The Autumn days are getting colder and darker! It’s nice to have some company during a commute. Fall Commute Challenger, Greg, is carpooling to work with his wife. It had been difficult in the past to carpool together since they have different work schedules, but Greg shares what sacrifices they’ve made to make the commute work and the overall benefits to carpooling thus far.

What sacrifices have you had to make in order to choose a different commute? We’ve all made some but there are plenty of benefits such as major time and money savings and incentives such as the $50 Get Started reward by participating in the Downtown Bellevue On The Move program.

Read on to hear more about Greg’s commuting story!

This was our first week commuting to work as a family and it went pretty well. My wife and I were both surprised at how nice it is to start and end your day with someone in the seat next to you rather than alone. We also have been loving the carpool lanes on our commute and the carpool entrances to I405 at NE 6th and NE 4th.

It has taken a bit of additional logistics and some sacrifices to stick to our carpooling commitment. My wife and I are regularly checking in on our work schedules— who needs to be at work when, who will be done when, who will drop whom off. Last Friday she was done with work early, and had we not carpooled, likely would have gone home a few hours early. Since we had driven together, she ended up killing time on the internet waiting for me to finish up. All-in-all we’re enjoying it and have noticed the gas savings after cutting out just a handful of commutes.

–Greg

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 4:10 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

Think back to when you decided to switch to a new, greener commute. What motivated you? Our Fall Commute Challenger, Gaser, tells us what motivated him. The sight of bumper-to-bumper traffic definitely makes him want to continue his commute challenge! If you’re a commuter that is thinking about riding the bus, but distance is an issue, read Gaser’s Fall Commute Challenge post for a bit of Green Commuting Inspiration!

After commuting and waiting too long on regular lanes in rush hour, and seeing many accidents on the way to work every morning, I started to think about taking a safer way, where I can relax, and spend the commute time reading, or planning for my vacation, and most importantly being greener.

gaser 1

Starting Friday Nov. 1, I started exploring the best route to and from home. At the beginning I didn’t think I’d ever find a route, but through the Fall Commute Challenge and the help provided, as well as using the King County Metro website, Bing and Google maps I figured out that I can take an early bus from Snoqualmie (route 215) to Eastgate Park-and-Ride and then take route 556 to Downtown Bellevue.

gaser 2

I started enjoying this route in the early morning where the transfer waiting time is only 10-15 minutes. Looking back at the other very crowded lanes from the HOV lane gave me more motivation to continue.

gaser 3

On the other hand, the way back home, and with the daylight’s savings time change, the challenge started to be interesting. It is too dark, and there is no way to go back home in a timely manner. For some reason the sync between route 215 and route 556 that I enjoyed in the morning, is flipped on the way back home. Route 215 reaches the Eastgate Park-and-Ride before route 556, which means I have to wait for the second one.  To make it more fun, route 215 is one where there is no regular fixed time between its buses at this stop, and the time distribution isn’t [consistent]. In other words, don’t expect that if you missed one you would wait a constant time for the second one (15 min, or 30 min); it is different from time to time, starting from 30 minutes to 50 minutes.*

The challenge is continuing, and the mystery to find the right synchronized bus routes still needs more investigation.

There is another though, which could involve biking, and I’m still investigating and evaluating the visibility of it.

–Gaser

*Editor’s note: Route 215 does have fixed start time for each of its runs, but other stops have estimated timepoints.

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 5:28 PM | by geri | Add a Comment
The Fall Commute Challenge is under way and we have batch of challengers!
It’s cold outside– so partnering up in a cozy carpool seems to be the way to go with two of our challengers. But the other two are taking the bus and one of them is even braving the bike ride for part of their commute!

webfall commute challenge

The Fall Commute Challenge is under way and we have a new batch of challengers!

It’s cold outside so partnering up in a cozy carpool seems to be the way to go with two of our new challengers. But the other two are taking the bus and one of them is even riding his bike for part of his commute!

Our first post comes from Crystal; read on to find out why she decided to try a new commute. Can you relate? Comment below!

My name is Crystal and I recently started my own personal commute challenge. I take care of managing the finances in our household of two (plus one dog) and I had recently revised our budget for the year. After discussing the new budget with my husband we decided to try and challenge ourselves to move outside our comfort zone and make small, everyday changes in hopes of seeing a payoff on our bottom line. Everyone wants to save money, lose weight, get a great new job but not all want to put in the work and make the changes to achieve their goals. I am guilty of this myself but we’d finally had enough and decided to start trying to change.

We decided to be better about eating out, making our lunches for work and asking ourselves to stop and think it if was worth the money for that latte you sometimes crave. Another area that I felt I could try and improve was my commute. I live in Seattle and work in Bellevue and up until recently my husband was commuting to Bremerton. We had moved from Florida and until I got my job I had driven him to the ferry each morning. After getting my job in Bellevue that stopped, and he started taking the bus to and from the ferry docks. Frustration set in and he decided to start biking to the ferry. It was greener, he was able to exercise and he wasn’t stuck on a bus downtown and could even get home in less time. I was happy he found a way to make three hour commute each day more bearable.

A couple months ago my husband switched jobs (now he works in Everett). We were paying for 2 people to commute each day so I thought I should try to start taking the bus as my primary mode of transportation. We had moved from FL where there is almost NO public transportation to a city where I felt sure I’d be taking public transit and here I was still driving. I felt like it was just time- time to push myself out of my comfort zone and see if I could do it. I started periodically taking the bus, though admittedly I couldn’t give up my parking pass. Some days I have errands to run, sometimes you’re sick and don’t want to sit on a bus and some days you’re late and need that extra 20 minutes at home. But I started trying nonetheless.

I let my coworkers know about my new schedule (I get in a ½ an hour earlier and leave ½ hour earlier) and everyone warned that it will be harder once it’s raining constantly. My HR person knew I was trying to make a change and forwarded along the email and application information for the Fall Commute challenge. I explained my situation, applied and here I am, finished with week 1. Here’s a recap of my week:

I received my Orca card on 11/4/13 and used it to take the bus home that evening. My husband has been sweet enough to drop me off in the U where my bus stop is (it’s my transfer stop in the evening). It saves me one leg in the morning and it’s a nice way to start the day together. He had a dentist appointment Tuesday so I decided to drive in. THANK GOODNESS I did… Traffic was terrible due to an accident on I5 and 520 was backed up as well. I sat in my car for about two hours. I know it wasn’t green but I was very thankful I was in the comfort of my own car, listening to music and not feeling as if I had to escape the bus. I took the bus round trip Wednesday and Thursday and then took the bus to work Friday, however my husband picked me up from work on our way out of town.

Commuting on the bus has been nice so far. I love to read and I’ve had much more time to do so. I’m glad that I’ve kept pushing myself to try and make a difference, for the environment and for our budget. I’ll keep you posted on the rest of my bus adventures but so far so good.

Stay tuned for more!

Friday, November 15th, 2013 5:56 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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