The Arithmetic behind why I drive to work instead of taking the bus is elementary to calculate. Yet, I ignore the obvious savings that I would make taking the bus. Why (you may well ask)?
Take The Bus
If I got a monthly pass in Ottawa, it could cost
$91.50 $122.50, or I could splurge and get an Express Pass for $114.00. There is also a $5 yearly charge for a new picture pass that we can ignore. That’s the entire cost (monetarily) of taking the bus for me, but wait, remember that this is also a tax-deductible expense, so the actual after tax cost of this pass is lower than the above two prices (and I can get a yearly bus pass for even less).
That’s the bottom line in terms of cost. I won’t get esoteric and throw in newspapers to read on the bus or attractive Podcast subscription costs. That doesn’t count either.
Take My Car
The costs here add up rather quickly, but let’s go at them one at a time:
- My car is actually paid off, but given what it cost me, I could assume about a $250 a month charge to buy the car, but in this little experiment, let’s just leave out that cost (but keep it in mind, remember it’s total cost).
- My weekly gas charges are about $25 a week, and that is going to go up with gas currently at $1.10 a liter in Ottawa, so that translates to about $112.50 a month in gas costs (being liberal).
- To insure my car it costs about $700 a year, so that makes for about $60 a month in insurance charges
- Here is the real tipping point, I have to pay for parking at work, currently $6 a day (I can’t get a monthly pass yet, I am on a waiting list), given there is about 22 working days in a month, I am paying $132.00 in parking a month.
- Maintenance? It’s a pretty well behaved beast for now, but I am paying about $80 a month in maintenance charges for the year (I had a brake job done, and it is a 7 year old car).
- If I ignore (1) then I should take into account the dropping value of my car? I never understand that so we’ll leave that out of the calculations too.
So, that means I am spending $384 a month to run my car to work, which is After-Tax money, and it is not (in any way, shape or form) tax-deductible (and I have not even included the cost of buying the car). Note, the tax-deductible comment was back when bus pass costs were tax credits.
It’s Obvious Right?
Nope, because I end up weighing the fact that my drive to work takes 30 minutes usually, and I can go to work and return from work whenever I want. I don’t have to stand next to snarfing or coughing folk, picking up the latest flu, and having my environment around me (i.e., listening to whatever music I want).
If I take the bus, the trip might take anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on whether I make my connections, and I must go when the bus runs, and if I miss a link, it could take even longer.
I know I should take the bus, and I may eventually relent and do that, but I continue to take my car to work for now. Still, convenience and how I value my time must be factored into this (anyone wishing to Kibitz on these numbers, feel free). I don’t have that many vices left in my life: I don’t smoke, I don’t drink lattes, and I don’t drink in bars, but is this me rationalizing a wrong financial decision? I am mature enough to say, Maybe.
My musings prove that the catchphrase to remember on this blog is Do as I SAY, not as I DO!