Of Commuting and Savviness

Contributor:  Mahtot Gebresselassie of Outlier Plan 

My Vintage BikeLeg stretching, I highly recommend. I do, do that myself; meaning I stretch my legs every once in a while throughout the day at work. I get up and walk to the window behind my desk at my coworking space at the Rostie Group. I have a full-view of the Gardiner Expressway. Oh, and its unfortunate traffic situation as well. I was once told that sometimes exiting from the Gardiner takes about 60 minutes during rush hour. Bewildered, I asked, “How do people do this every day? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. My point was that I wouldn’t be one of them because I truly don’t think I can handle that. Luckily, I don’t have to find out whether or not I can. My commute to work is a 35 – 40minutes bike ride from Roncesvalles. When I cannot cycle due to weather, I take the subway. Lucky, indeed.

Volkswagen BeetleAt Outlier Plan we feel pretty certain that we are savvy commuters; we drive, take transit, cycle, and walk to work. We have no aversion to any means of transportation. Well, okay there is one exception – the 504 Streetcar that runs on King Street! We are of the opinion that each has a place in our commute (no place in our lives for the 504 Streetcar); it is just a matter of knowing when it is reasonable to use a specific transportation mode (there is never a good time to take the 504 Streetcar.) Click here for photo credit.

You might ask: Reasonable in terms of what? Well, we mean in terms of time, cost, health, your physical ability, and impact on other fellow human beings and the environment. Yes, yes we understand “reasonable” might sound vague. In that case, you can alternatively use the term “responsible” and “savvy”. Better yet, here are a couple of examples to elaborate the whole concept.

  • Driving to the store three blocks down your street while you are perfectly capable of walking.  Unreasonable!
  • Taking public transportation and spending four hours on a train for a round trip when driving takes you only an hour both ways. Unreasonable, provided you are capable of driving!

You get the gist, yes? In any case, my commute changes due to weather got me curious how everybody else at the Rostie Group coworking space commuted. (Click here for an article about our experience on coworking.) I asked some of my fellow coworkers and others I run into at the Rostie Group. Here is what eight of them told me.

Streetcar Cropped

Don’t let it’s look fool you – this is the 504 Streetcar.

Brian: Lives in North York and takes the subway to get to work. His commute is about an hour one-way. He says it is fine most of the times.

Brice: Lives around the corner from the office. His morning commute is about five minutes. At the risk of stating the obvious, he would be the luckiest in terms of spending time and money for commuting.

Brule: Commutes from Milton where he takes Milton Transit and transfers to GO train. His one-way commute is about an hour and fifteen minutes. He is pretty happy with it.

Cerlita: Takes TTC from the Sheppard and Bathurst area. feet imageHer one-way commute is about an hour-long. She says it is not too bad.

Heather: Takes the subway from Davisville Subway Station. Her commute is about 30 – 40 minutes and she doesn’t have any complaints.

Melisa: Takes the GO train from Mississauga. Her one-way commute is about 45minutes. She has no complaints!

Pam: Takes TTC from the St. Clair and Avenue area. Her one-way commute to work is about 45 minutes. She is generally happy with her commute.

Richard: Commutes to work from the Greektown area. He takes the TTC and it takes him about 40 minutes including the walk from Union Station to 20 Bay.

Tim: Commutes from Freelton, north of Hamilton. His commute includes 30 minutes of driving and a one hour train ride on the GO.

GO Train

We would like to leave you with travel tips. When you plan your travel, go for the option or a combination of options that is/are time, cost, and resource efficient, good for your health and social life, and with the least environmental impact.  Ride a bixi or your own bike, take public transit, carpool, walk, or use a combination of these or more. Life is full of options — that applies to commuting as well.