With the holiday excess behind us, the New Year beckons with the promise of a fresh start. What are you going to do with yours? If your plans include trying to save money, get more exercise, and/or live more sustainably, maybe you should consider a resolution that can do all three—a new commute. Here are some tips on how you can make the change.
Take the bus, just don’t be afraid to get creative with it. Few people have bus stops right outside their front door, present company included. When I first started planning my bus commute I realized I could shave 20 minutes off my trip if I could get to Durham Station quickly. I initially thought I’d ask my partner to drop me off on his way to work, but then I realized I should check the trip planner to see if going to work with him could get me a better bus trip. Sure enough, Triangle Transit’s 700 has a stop very close to his employer. Now I ride to work with him and he drops me off at my bus stop. When planning your bus trip, think about the all the possible locations you can start from. If you can’t catch a ride with a family member or roommate, consider a Park and Ride.
Bike it. Another way I could have solved my Durham Station dilemma—a bike. If you want to start biking to work or to a bus station, there’s a growing community of Triangle cycling enthusiasts willing to share their wisdom, so take advantage of all that’s out there. You can start by checking out the tips and resources we have at GoTriangle.org. To get cycling news and to connect with the community, try the Durham Bike/Ped group and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Listserv for RTP.
Share the ride. If a bus or bike won’t cut it, try a carpool. If you don’t have someone to ride with, you can look for suitable partners at ShareTheRideNC.org, a free statewide database of commuters hoping to make their gas money go a little farther. Even if your schedule isn’t the typical 9-5, there’s still a chance that you can find someone to share the ride; remember, the more people who sign up, the greater likelihood you’ll get a match. You might also consider joining your neighborhood listserv and sending a note to your neighbors. A vanpool is a form of rideshare that works well for long commutes. Check TriangleTransit.org‘s vanpool page to see if any seats are availalbe in existing pools. If they don’t have a vanpool that works for you, maybe you can start your own. Triangle Transit provides the van, insurance, and maintenance — all for a low monthly fare.
What if the unexpected happens? Worried about an emergency that could have you scrambling to find a ride home on a day you took the bus, vanpooled, carpooled, or biked? The Emergency Ride Home program provides a ride home via taxi or rental car if you or a family member gets sick or has a crisis or you or your rideshare partner has unscheduled overtime. Sign up is quick, easy, and FREE.
How did you start alt-commuting? We’d love to hear your story. Please share your tips and any resources you found helpful in the comments section.
Happy New Year from your friends at GoTriangle!