Monday, March 10, 2008

MBTA to Lasell

I took the bus to Lasell today. I bundled up my 8 month old son in the Babybjorn and we headed out for our commute. We started in Harvard Square in Cambridge. From the Harvard Square T stop we took the red line into Downtown Crossing. It was actually very pleasant. First, a woman gave me a seat as she saw I had my hands full with the baby. Maybe there is hope for humanity! I also saw a friend so I had the chance to catch up her until she hopped off at Park Street. At Downtown Crossing, we went to the street level and waited for the 505 Express Bus. The 505 is great and definitely underutilized by Lasell students. It stops right on Commonwealth Avenue outside of campus and goes straight downtown. Whereas the green line will take 40 minutes or more to get downtown plus the walk to the station, the 505 gets you there in about 10. Unfortunately, the bus was a little behind schedule today so we had to wait a bit in the cold for the bus. Even with the delay, the trip took about an hour and cost me $4.00.

This commute really is eco-friendly thing for me to do. But it is really hard to justify when all the costs and benefits are analyzed. To get to Lasell and home on the bus costs me $8.00 per day. Currently, Lasell does not have a program to reimburse public transportation costs. The Green Campus Task Force and the Human Resources Office are working on addressing that problem. Besides the cost, it takes about an hour door to door on taking public transportation compared to about 20 minutes by car. I take the Mass Pike when I drive so there is a $1.00 toll each direction and then the cost of gas and wear on my vehicle (figure about $0.40 per mile so $6.40). Lasell offers free parking to faculty and staff so no cost there. Add in the tolls and driving costs me about $8.40 compared to $8.00 on the bus but driving saves me an hour and twenty minutes of time.

The big question really is if my time is worth the 10 pounds of CO2 my vehicle emits commuting to Lasell each day? I'm beginning to realize the answer may actually be that I need to carpool. I just discovered that another professor lives about 5 blocks away. If she doesn't mind riding with a crazy little boy, that might be my green solution.

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