By Rory Joyce on August 16th, 2012 in Consumers
If you are like me and have moved up to San Francisco in the past 2 years, you know that rising rents have made it cost prohibitive to find a comfortable livings space in the city. My SOMA studio a couple blocks from work became an unsustainable situation once my girlfriend moved up. So, I sucked it up and moved across the Bay to North Oakland. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. Note to all of you SF newcomers struggling to find places in the city -- East Bay is actually a great place to live, and still very convenient to get anywhere in SF.
An important early consideration in my move was the decision to drive across the Bay Bridge to work everyday or to use public transportation across the Bay, specifically BART. Given my keen sense for numbers, I like to quantify all the costs and make the decision based on dollars & cents. Since I don’t have any major anxiety associated with a daily underground trans-bay commute, I am able to make a clean objective quantitative comparison. Let’s break down the components:
Commuting daily equals a tank per week versus a tank per month if driving on weekends only. Tanks are $45 a pop for my modest, fuel-efficient Honda Civic. Commuting via BART saves me $135/month!
For car insurance, CoverHound helps me make the best comparison across carriers and scenarios. A significant rating factor for insurance carriers is the amount of miles you drive. Not driving over the 8-mile Bay Bridge every day back and forth saves me about $30 per month on insurance!
There is a toll to cross the Bay Bridge, only when crossing to photogenic SF of course. I assumed one weekend passage over the bridge at $5 in each scenario. Six dollars per day in the case of commuting via car. Total savings commuting via BART equal $120/month!
Each BART trip from East Bay to SF is about $7 round-trip. I assumed one trip per weekend in both scenarios. Commuting via BART costs me an additional $140/month.
Parking in SF is ridiculous. It costs $300-$500/month to park in SOMA. For purposes of this analysis, I’ll use the AMPCO at 2nd and Folsom for $325 monthly.
Mental & Time Considerations
I’ll consider the filth of the cars (and its riders) along with occasional delays of the BART a wash with the consistent traffic headaches of the Bay Bridge and rush hour in SF.
Big-time savings for me commuting from East Bay to SF via BART. I urge you to do a similar analysis if you live in NY (LIRR, subway, NJT, Path), Chicago (L), DC (Metro), or any other large metropolitan area with a viable public commuting option.