A few months ago, I was living in Madison Valley in Seattle. It’s a residential area and the bus came right up to our street. Super convenient to hop on and get down to work. I was used to this routine from all the way back when I was at UW bussing from the University District to Downtown Seattle several times a week.
Time for Relocation
It was time for me to move, however, so I started looking around at places near my office. There were even a couple places on the very same block as the office, but everyone has always said that you don't want to live too close to your workplace. If you did, you'd never get out of there! Or you’d be called in all the time for little odd jobs. That didn't deter me, though. I figured it would be convenient to live as close as possible to minimize my commute time to maximize my life time.
Tally It Up
Curious about my time savings, I started doing some quick math and realized how substantial two quick bus trips can be if made daily. Let’s look at this on a granular level. This equation can easily be adapted for your own commute time too:
- 3 minute walk to bus stop
- 10 minute average wait time for bus (between 0 and 20 minutes, depending)
- 18 minute bus ride
- 3 minute walk from bus stop to office
That’s 34 minutes per trip, or 68 minutes every single day. I’m including weekends as well since I would usually bus up to Capitol Hill or go get groceries or go to the gym.
Now let’s multiply that out over the number of round trips I would make in a year. Often times I would take multiple bus trips in a single day or not take one at all, so it averages out to about one per day.
365 days x 68 minutes = 24,820 minutes or 414 hours!
414 hours! That’s insane! That would be 52 8-hour work days back-to-back. Nearly two whole months of productive time wasted while sitting on a bus. That’s not even including bus fare. At $2.50 each trip to total $5 every day, it would cost $1,825 every year on top of all that wasted time.
Time Well Saved
Now that I've moved closer to work, my commute time is 4 minutes on foot. It's also much quicker to meet with friends, get groceries, get my hair cut, and so on. I'm eating home-cooked breakfasts and dinners more often. I'm having friends over to hang out and cook with more. It's been a transformative move, getting so much closer to all the things I do on a daily basis.
Now for all you car drivers out there, these calculations are even more intense. You'll have to factor in commute time in addition to parking time, parking costs, car payments, gas, insurance, maintenance, and more. If you're commuting an hour or more every day, you should really consider getting closer to where you work. It's a game changer.