Monday, March 29, 2010

Transit and Opportunity Costs

One of Ackerman's many quality guest bloggers points to a couple posts by Ryan Avent on smart phones and commuting. The basic thrust is that mobile computing, in the form of smart phones, is shifting the balance toward using public transit to commute to work instead of driving. You can't surf the web, check email, etc while driving. Or rather you can, but not safely.

I saw the tweet mentioned in one of Avent's posts this weekend and it certainly made sense to me. As a result, I made a point of getting up a bit earlier than usual this morning and grabbing a bus to work instead of driving. I was very pleased with the decision. It only took one bus to go nearly door to door, and I was able to relax, enjoy my coffee, and read the Economist on the way. Much better than driving through rush hour traffic of Minnesotans who don't know how to merge.

The price difference is negligible, thanks to the cheap parking in St Paul. $2.25 each way for the bus during rush hour versus $3 in parking. Add in gas, wear and tear and general annoyance, and it's about equal. I foresee more buses to work in my future.

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