To ride? Or not to ride?

Were you faced with the conundrum of purchasing ASU's new transit card this year? Since I now find myself working as a full-time Program Coordinator for ASU, I no longer can reap the benefits of the deeply discounted ASU U-Pass for students. As an employee, I receive a nifty little Platinum Pass for $390. For those of you unfamiliar with the pass, both the U-Pass and Platinum Pass allows you unlimited rides both on Valley Metro buses and METRO light rail. So is this pass really a bargain? Let’s bust out our calculation skills (or machine, in my case) and play along. I know what you are thinking. "You have a car, don't you? Why bother!?" Yes, I do have a car. Do I like driving it every day? No! Is the weather currently a blistering 400 degrees outside? Yes. Ok, not really, but…it will be. I have about 35 work weeks left in the academic year and will use the card for weekends and evening activities too. If I were to take my car everywhere, I would use about a tank a week, which costs me about $35 to fill up. Because the Platinum Pass is prorated, the pass would cost me about $310 for the remaining 35 weeks I have to use it. This comes out to a whopping $8.86 per week! $310 verse $1225 ($915 in savings) is looking good now isn’t it? By taking full advantage of the academic year would yield you even bigger savings – at $390 for the pass that is $7.50 per week! For students, the U-Pass is $80 for nine months of unlimited riding; coming out to $2.22 per week! (I did not even factor in auto insurance savings…) What about all that time you spend (or waste, in some people's opinion) waiting for the bus, riding its ridiculously slow routes, walking from point A to point B etc..? Ok. There is a trade off. But how do we quantify this trade off? For some, giving up the use of their car would feel like chopping a limb off. For you, I can't offer much else. I hope there is a shiny chrome ride waiting for you after you die. For the rest of us, there are more considerations. For instance, how do I maximize all that waiting around? Easy! Thanks to modern technology most, if not all of us have mobile devices that we can continue our communications and/or work during this “lag time.” It can also serve as time to read, write, and catch up with old friends or just plain zone out. That's right, I said it. My name is Jehnifer, and I am a day dreaming addict. It's lame, self indulgent and unproductive, but sometimes it just feels so good! In conclusion, quantifying the decision of "To ride, or not to ride?" is kind of hard, and ultimately a personal decision. I am not an economist. But, at the end of the day, I still feel that budgeting my life in order to use alternative transportation is how they say... "Priceless." By Jehnifer Niklas