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Transportation costs around the country have been steadily increasing as time goes by. I remember (this will age me) when the price per gallon in L.A. was $0.98 in 2000!!
In L.A., traffic is literally a trending topic when anyone talks about our city. Our streets are busy and our commute time always ranges between 20 minutes with no traffic to 1.5 hours during rush hour. And I’m only talking about commuting 10-15 miles.
Needless to say, Los Angeles traffic has many challenges. And while I’ve been a long time commuter of more than 13 years, it was only a few years ago that I discovered the hidden secret to a great commute in L.A.
You’re probably thinking that it doesn’t make much sense to take the bus when you already own a car.
I had the same mindset for about a decade.
Some Backstory for ya…
Let me backup for a brief minute and give you the rundown of my scenario prior to taking the bus.
When I first started working in 2005 out of college, I had a little preschooler. I commuted 15 miles one way for work and never once thought about taking the bus. My husband would drop her off in the morning and I would pick her up in the afternoon.
A few years later, I had another little one. My kids’ age gap is more than 5 years, so they’ve always had to go to different schools, which meant that it made no sense for me to take the bus at the time.
After a couple of moves to different cities, we came back to the valley and my commute times seemed to increase.
Fast forward to about 5 years ago.
I had my oldest in middle school and the little one in elementary. It made more sense to finally transfer them to schools close to my home instead of close to my work. I figured if an emergency arose, I had family around the area to pick them up.
Now that I lost my carpool lane privileges, I had to rethink my commute.
I started researching and coincidentally had a conversation with one of my co-workers who happened to be taking the commuter bus right around my home. We started talking and I decided to try it out.
At the time, I was paying almost $80 in parking per month with my employer and about $300 a month in gas.
The bus pass was $40 a month in total.
The first day I got on the bus and left my car, it felt really weird. Like, I’d left my purse or was forgetting something important.
But, it turned out to be the best decision I made!
Here are 9 ways taking the bus improved my life…seriously
1- Saved on Gas
This changed the game for me. I didn’t realize how much of my money went to gas because for years it was just something I had to do. Spending hundreds of dollars a month was really natural and so normal.
Once I started riding the bus, I started forgetting when I filled up gas last….and that is a beautiful feeling. Nowadays, I fill up every week and half or so.
It’s saved me so much money, I shared more about it here.
2- Reduced Car Maintenance
Less driving means less oil changes, filter changes and overall maintenance I have to do on my car. I used to get an oil change every couple of months because I drove a lot. Now, it’s more like twice a year!
Maintenance costs have decreased over time too. Not as much wear and tear on my car now that I’ve cut my driving from 45 miles per day (including picking up my kids) to just 10. My car is 11 years old and still runs like new.
I no longer have to listen to the radio in the morning to see which freeway is backed up or where the accidents are. Traffic is not my problem anymore. I have the luxury of hopping on the bus, closing my eyes, and relaxing all the way to work.
4-Comfort and Wifi
The bus I take is a charter bus, specifically for commuting on the freeway. It is super comfortable! The comfy cloth seats recline, we each get out own air vent for ac and heat, and there’s even free Wifi on each bus!
5-No more parking
Where I work, the parking cost is outrageous. I think this year it’s $81 per month and the rate increases every single year. Plus, you’re not guaranteed parking and they dictate which parking structure you’re allowed to park in based on the building you work in.
I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t scream “good deal!” to me.
So, taking the bus literally saves me $41 in parking (since my monthly pass is $40), meaning I save $492 per year, just by relaxing on a bus everyday.
Now that….screams “hello savings!” Doesn’t it?
6- Insurance Savings
Now that I drive less, I’m able to change my insurance mileage and get a discount on my premium.
Insurance discounts excite me!
There is not a lot of legroom in the way of insurance discounts, I was pleasantly surprised when I asked and was told that I would be saving money every year.
We’ve already talked about mileage and gas and all that type of energy. But, here I’m talking about my personal energy.
I come home much more energetic and willing to take care of tasks after work than I’ve ever been.
I’m so energetic that I’ve been able to tackle my chores during the week, so now my weekends are totally free! I feel so efficient, haha.
Driving in traffic after you’ve worked a tedious 8 hours every single day is completely draining and I used to find myself plopping on the couch or bed after dinner not wanting to do a single thing.
I’m writing to-do lists of things I want to get done. I take a quick 10-20 minute nap on the bus and I get my second wind to tackle more things.
It makes me feel so much more productive.
8- Increased Exercise
Recently, I took 3 weeks off during the holiday break. Let me tell you….I came back to work and was out of breathe from my walk to the building!
I didn’t even realize that my 2 block walk to work every day made that big of a difference in my fitness.
The second day I was sore. Like…..really!
Because I had been commuting on the bus and walking to work for years, I never paid any attention to how beneficial it was to my body.
Most days, that’s all the exercise I get….don’t judge….your girl hates exercise. But, at least I’m getting some in without thinking about it.
You’d be surprised how much your body will indirectly benefit from you taking the bus.
If you’ve been here a while you know I work a full time job and run this blog business full time as well. It’s a hard balance to do both at the same time while tending to my husband and kids.
Commuting on the bus gives me more time to work on the blog and gives me the energy I need to get things done.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve become an efficient machine. Every spare moment I have on the bus where I’m not sleeping, I’m writing, researching, learning.
It’s given me more free time to pursue my business and I’ve been loving it.
Take the leap
If you’ve ever been on the fence about taking the bus, just know that it is not just for people without cars. You have a lot of potential benefits waiting for you on the other side, my friend. Benefits that will outweigh your doubt.
Try it out for a week and be the judge for yourself. I understand that riding the bus isn’t for everyone. It takes a bit more time and coordination and some people would rather drive. I get it.
I just wanted to share my personal experience in case you have been thinking about it but were hesitant to try it out.
It’s one of the best decisions I made on so many levels and I get to reap the benefits each and every day.