As many loyal readers know, I recently took a time-out from taking Metro every day.
How has that worked out for me? Here is that update.
First off, it hastened some of the problems Condi had. I am not mad about those expenses, rather, the way I handled them. The shop I went to for the first two times did a horrible job. I’ve asked for a refund that will likely not be repaid. If that doesn’t happen soon, the BBB and this website will have the details about that shop. Odds are that those expenses would have needed to be incurred eventually, so I am not too mad about that.
Gas expenses aren’t that bad because Condi gets good mileage. I have, however, taken the Metro on a few occasions, and like Brian Pollock predicted, I do not really miss the Metro.
Sure, I miss having stories to gripe about all of the time, but traffic isn’t that bad on 295 in the morning, nor at night. It’s a question of timing. If I get on the road before 6:55, my commute is a breeze. And if I leave after 6:30, it’s not bad either.
Metro has been typical as of late, and nothing has really changed. Driving has made getting our softball equipment to and from much easier, and has enabled me to drive Mike O. back to Arlington and Betsy home without the hassle of 50 lbs of bats and such when we’re sweaty and tired.
So, on the whole, I like driving. It may be a bit more expensive than taking the SmartBenefits subsidy, but it’s worth it.
As a consumer, I can vote with my dollars, and I’d rather pay a little more not to patronize Metro. And that’s a decision I am largely happy with.
To my friends in St. Louis who are big about expanding MetroLink — be aware. You have the opportunity to make it a good experience, unlike D.C.’s WMATA. I suggest you take it — but we may disagree on how best to achieve the goal of expanding it. I say higher fares, not tax increases. MetroLink needs to prove it’s going to attract more and more customers before we pour billions into making it bigger and costlier. Those customers must be willing to pay the costs of commuting. The burden shouldn’t be shifted to others. D.C. tried it, and it’s been a boondoggle.