Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working from 4:30am to 1:00pm to cover a shift for one of my co-workers who is taking a holiday. This means that I have been leaving my home around 3:35am, so I’m not late for work. At this time in the morning, there is no transit service between Langley and Vancouver's Olympic Village. I’ve been taking a company vehicle between home and work.
I haven’t owned a car for a long time, and have never regularly commuted between Langley and Vancouver in a car. After commuting by car for about two weeks, I can tell you that I’m looking forward to getting back to taking transit. Why?
Well, one of the first thing that I've noticed is that while my time commuting has dropped from 1 hour and 20 minutes by transit to 45 minutes by driving, door-to-door, I actually have less time in my day to accomplish what I want to do.
For example, I normally write on this blog on my way to work in the morning. The time I spend on transit is productive time. One the way back from work, I normally catch up on email, social media, and reading. These are things that I cannot do while driving. By driving, I’m actually losing about an hour a day because I can't do anything when I'm driving.
Driving is also somehow concurrently stressful and boring. When I get home or get to work, I have to decompress before getting on with my day. It really isn’t nice coming to work or coming home cranky. Driving really isn’t good for my mental health, and speaking of health...
I got a Fitbit this Christmas and have been using it to track how many kilometers I go in a day. I’ve gone from walking about 10km per day, to about 8km per day. That is a pretty large drop in kilometers. Over time that means less exercise, less calories burned, and more weight gain.
There has been recent research showing that driving it bad for both mental health and physical health. After two weeks of driving to work, I can attest to this fact. Driving is actually making me less happy.
I’m looking forward to getting back to working a shift where I can take transit to work. If frequent, reliable transit was available to more people in Metro Vancouver, I have to wonder if we would live in a happier, healthier region.