It’s been over 3 weeks since my last contract ended, and I’m gearing up to start a new one with a new client this week. Last week, I went in and got fingerprints and photographs done. All I need now is the security clearance to finalize and to get badged. However, this new contract will be more expensive in both time and dollars compared to my last one.
I was already paying the maximum fare on Metrorail ($3.90 one-way prior to this week), so it cost me $7.80 per day to just ride to and from work. In addition, I was spending $4 twice per week to park at the metro so that I could get to class faster. Otherwise, I would have to leave even earlier from work to have time to walk home to my truck.
Oh, and the train ride was 30 minutes with no transfers.
Now with the Metro fare increases, I’ll be paying $4.50 each way, plus $4.75 to park. That comes out to $9-13.75 per day, depending on the day, or about $30-40 more per month in travel expenses. Granted, I would be paying this with the old contract too as I’m just stuck paying the max fare anyway.
The worse part is the time. My new contract is a few more stops away from the old, AND I need to transfer trains. This will add a minimum of 15 more minutes onto my commute, bringing it up to 45 minutes one-way. And that doesn’t count the time to get to and from the metro! I’m now looking at a 60-70 minute commute each way!
For class days, I now have to leave by around 2pm to get to my furthest class in time. If you’re familiar with the DC MetroRail, you know that prior to rush hour, trains run about 12-14 minutes apart. Now with the transfer, and this happened to me last week when I went for fingerprints, I could get stuck with a 24-28 minute wait to get the second train! If I just miss the the first and second train as I reach the platform, I’m stuck for almost a half hour, and like I said, that happened to me last week.
However, the nice thing is that I should have a seat for most of the commute and will be able to read for my classes, or even write articles like I did last year. But just knowing that the minimum time to get home in case of emergency has now increased so much is unnerving. I can handle the increased fares, but the time is going to be the make-or-break factor in whether I ask for a different contract, or even try to find another job.
So, is anyone else adversely affected by the new fare increases? I make a decent income so I can absorb the cost, but I know for some commuters, the $30-50 more per month could mean cutting some necessities.