More Savings For Commuters

I blame the economy for just about everything these days. Can’t sleep at night? It’s the economy’s fault. Weight gain? It’s the economy’s fault. Healthy food costs more; so, I don’t eat as well as I should. Wardrobe suffering? It’s the economy’s fault. Not that I was ever a fashion plate before – but, I’m certainly not one now. In short, the economy affects pretty much everything. What we purchase. How we purchase. How much we purchase.

Many of you are like me – living one day at a time; trying to make the wisest choices and decisions for our pocketbooks and lifestyles. I don’t know about you, but every time I have a small victory against the economy, I love to share it. Take this morning for instance.

I had the privilege of sitting next to a woman from Leander. She was a first-time rider who had opted to take MetroRail downtown for a seminar. I asked her how she felt about spending six dollars for her fare. She replied that the fare was less expensive than she would have paid for gas and parking downtown. She commented on the comfort and atmosphere of the train. Being that it was a later-morning train, she was surprised by the number of passengers that were aboard. Knowing that she was probably a one-time rider, I left my questions at that. Then, Ms. Leander started questioning me…  Continue reading “More Savings For Commuters”

Summer Fun on the Red Line

Hi.  Remember me?  I have not blogged in awhile.  My home computer crashed and I have been involved in several projects at work that have left me scrambling.  Rest assured that I have been on the MetroRail every day observing, listening and talking with my fellow MetroRail riders on the Red Line.

Summer is here. Seeing all the children with their parents on the train has been so much fun.  I often ask them where they are bound for their summer’s day excursion.  Some are off to the Children’s Museum or to take off on a Duck Adventure.  Others are off to the State Capitol to tour the building and enjoy a picnic on the lawn.  One little boy delighted in telling me how a squirrel ate popcorn from his hand on the Capitol lawn.  One father and daughter were going to take a Car2Go to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.   No matter what the plans are, taking MetroRail downtown to knock around is a great idea.  The train ride is a wonderful way to begin and end a summer’s day adventure.

A couple of weeks ago, my children accompanied me to work on the rail.  They enjoyed the experience so much that my seventeen-year-old daughter quickly saw the Red Line as an opportunity to venture out to other places.  There was an event that she wanted to attend and she knew that my mother was going to the same event.  Since I could not go, she drove to the station and boarded the train to Leander and met up with my mother there.  They were able to attend the event together.  She could have driven; but, being a fairly inexperienced driver, she chose MetroRail.  I understand that she and her little brother are now considering spending an afternoon with their grandmother in the near future.  No doubt they’ll be riding the rail again soon.

Summer fun isn’t just for the kids.  I met a retired couple who were venturing out for the day.  They were going to take part in a guided walking tour of Austin’s historic buildings, visit the Mexic-Arte Museum, check out some of the shops downtown and have a late lunch (and drinks) on the patio at Moonshine before catching the 3:45 pm train back to the Leander Station.

A lot of people are beginning to incorporate MetroRail into their summer activities.  As for me, it is nice boarding a train in the afternoon, after a hard day at work, and getting to hear some of the stories of how the kids spent their day.  I am so jealous.

A New Way To Work…

New MetroRail and Car2Go rider Traci

Brian Tracy said it best, “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Thursday, a friend of mine decided to put Brian Tracy to the test and try MetroRail for the first time.  Here is what Traci J. had to say about trying a new trek to work.

[ck]  What made you decide to try MetroRail?

[Traci]  Several things really.  I am so tired of fighting traffic in the morning from Round Rock; but, it’s even worse trying to get home in the afternoon.  I don’t have air conditioning in my car at the moment.  We all know how summer in Texas can be.  I also wanted to minimize the wear and tear on my car so I don’t have to buy a new vehicle right away.  I thought making this change would help me save money on gas and save money on the tollway.  When I drive, it’s amazing how often I end up on the tollway to skirt around a traffic delay.  If I were to take the tollway every day, it would cost me eighty dollars a month (and it has).

Continue reading “A New Way To Work…”

Philosophical observations: biking is like life!

Bike To Work Week has been an extraordinary experience for me.  I have received so much encouragement and advice.  I have already shared my experiences for Day 1.  On Day 2, Tuesday, I had to turn the key on my car to take my Mother to the doctor.  To be honest, I was relieved that she asked me.  I woke up feeling sore in places I do not care to talk about.  On Wednesday, I made it a little further up the hill…even with the knobby tires.  I had to stop on the ride home to catch my breath.  I sat under a tree rehydrating.  I am sure passersby considered it a real sight.  Nonetheless, I got through it.  Thursday, Day 4.  All I can say is, “Ouch!” I am sore…but it’s a good kind of sore.  My husband made me reconsider my ride on Thursday, which I did.  However, I’m back on the bike again today.

Wednesday as I was pedaling along (up the monster hill) and gasping for breath (I really need to change to street tires), it occurred to me that riding a bicycle is a lot like getting through life.

Uphills and Downhills… No matter what road you travel, there will always be uphills and downhills.   Continue reading “Philosophical observations: biking is like life!”

Bike to Work Week, Day 1

This week is Bike To Work Week.   This week, yours truly will be riding her bike to Howard Station and from the Downtown Station to the office [approximately 5.5 miles].  Last week, for encouragement, I turned to my friend, Scott.  That is because, for Scott, every week is Bike To Work Week.

Scott with his son

[ck]      Scott, how long have you been commuting to work by bicycle?

[Scott]  For the last four years, my primary methods of commuting are either by bus or bicycle.

[ck]      How far do you commute?

[Scott]  I commute about three miles each way.

[ck]      What was the impetus for taking your bike to work?

[Scott]  There were several motivating factors.  Efficient exercise.  Enjoyment. Believe it or not, it is often much faster; and, it allows my  family to remain a one-car household.

[ck]      So, I get the exercise.  Talk to me about enjoyment.

[Scott]  I really enjoy riding my bike.  It makes me feel like a little kid riding to school.

Continue reading “Bike to Work Week, Day 1”

Tales from a MetroRail rider

******Editor’s note: Carol Keesee is a new Capital Metro rider. She contacted me out of the blue, wanting to capture her observations about making a lifestyle change that included public transit, as well as the stories of the interesting people she has met on MetroRail. Stay tuned for more blog posts by Carol. ********

For those who do not know my story, I am a recently-converted MetroRail commuter. Having lived in the Austin area all of my life, I must admit that I had never given the thought of using Capital Metro a second thought. Instead, I had spent more than thirty years commuting more than thirty miles to work and back home each day.

Riding the bus had never appealed to me. Quite frankly, if I was going to be stuck in traffic, I preferred being stuck in the privacy of my own vehicle. However, the introduction of MetroRail offered a more appealing approach to getting to work. Howard Station is within five miles of my home and the Downtown Station is within one mile of my office. The thought of driving only five miles to the station, boarding a cool-looking train, and de-boarding downtown had a very metropolitan feel. Still, MetroRail would mean a lifestyle change. Was I ready to commit to becoming a commuter?

Continue reading “Tales from a MetroRail rider”