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The Commute
Old 10-25-2018, 07:43 AM   #1
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The Commute

Test your memory, or maybe what you do today.
Last night, a dream. Going in to Chicago by train, from 1979 to 1984.

Up at 6AM in Lisle, Illinois. Dressed and breakfast by 6:30, wake jeanie up to get me to the train station by 7AM, to catch the 7:03 commuter express (2 stops) and into the Burlington Northern Union station in Chicago @ 7:41AM. Off the train, through the station, to the outside where the company school bus was waiting to shuttle us to the Montgomery Ward Tower, where my office was on the 19th floor. At my office by 8:05AM.

Afternoon... Boarded school bus at 4:30PM, to Train at 4:58PM, to Lisle at 5:50PM, and 20 minutes to walk from station, to my home at 6:10PM.

Miss any part of the schedule, no express, and add 40 minutes to the commute... each way.

By car, anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours each way, depending on traffic. Ugly drive.

Imagine that... 34 years later, and still remember the schedule. At best, three hours+ a day, at worst, missing the express, or driving, 4+ hours. Fifteen to twenty+ hours a week commute.

... And then there was the flying... Chicago, Maryland, Texas, California, Portland, Colorado, Albany and points between. Usually for large group meetings, meaning the night before, or very early AM flights.

Did I say a "Dream"?... Happens about once a year... Takes a full day to recover. In a way, this was an improvement from my previous position in Albany, when my normal week excluding the 25 minute commute, was about 65 hours. Retail management at the time, wasn't easy, hourwise.

So... your commute? Fond memories?
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:03 AM   #2
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My commutes from 1974 to 2014 were mainly from home in rural Grundy County, Illinois to my office in Will County, Illinois. In the early days, I was up at 5:30, out the door at 6 and made it to work at 6:30. Leave around 4:30 and be home at 5. As I got older, I got to work later and left earlier. Sometimes rode my bike 26 miles to the office, and return bike ride in the pm.

Also commuted to several Chicago area county office buildings, Cook County was a drive of 30 minutes to the train station, then an hour train ride to Chicago. The train was great because I could sleep during most of the commute.

Also commuted to several job sites around Chicago, ranging from 1-3 hours round trip.

Traffic wasn't too bad in the early days, but gradually became worse. Especially during nasty weather. I once drove home from Chicago in a blizzard for 3 hours one way. I was lucky to have worked most of final 2 years from home.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:12 AM   #3
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Talk about timing! I'm going to broach my B@ss about teleworking Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I already have a telework agreement in place and can practically do everything from home on the issued laptop. Hopefully it flies and will begin my glide path to 2021. The 1 1/2 hour commute each way really wears on me.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:12 AM   #4
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I had a 45-60 minute drive each way for my full career, 3+hrs round trip if traffic was bad. A bit longer when the kids were little and had to drive them to childcare, as it was never "along the way".
Don't miss it a bit!
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:16 AM   #5
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My main recollection is commuting from home, Maryland Heights, to office in downtown St. Louis, at first post college job in 1976. IIRC took about 45-60 minutes each way. What really sticks out is the one night it snowed and did not get home until 9 pm.

That experience (lasted about 2-3 years) solidified a commitment that I would never again live/work in a situation that required more than a 20 minute commute. For the life of me I don't see how people can do those 1 to almost 2 hour commutes year after year. If it was a pleasant drive through the country maybe, but I don't think that happens very often!
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:19 AM   #6
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Never had a big commute thankfully. My sister commuted to downtown Chicago for years. She drove to the train station, once off the train either walked or rode the bus depending on the weather. If she missed her first train she had a much longer day.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:20 AM   #7
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Wow. I don't feel so bad with my 14 mile, 24 red lights each way commute. Takes me 25 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes home. It's a lot of stop & go and I hate it!!

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Old 10-25-2018, 09:31 AM   #8
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I'd always been in about a 30 minute radius, then bought a house that was 3 miles from the office. Before I moved in, my position changed to a different building with a 17 minute commute. Annoyed but still not bad. Then I met DH, and we moved in to his house... with a 40 mile each way commute (his was 5 minutes....)

The only good part of that 40 miles was it was mostly toll highway, and against the majority of traffic, so I was travelling pretty fast and doing it in about an hour each way.

The worst was DH would call and be like "do you want to stop on the way home and pick up dinner it is just a suggestion" ............... NO I DO NOT YOU DO IT!

PS, I jumped at the chance for a WAH position about 4 years before I RE'd, knowing it would stunt my career "growth" and not caring at that point.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:31 AM   #9
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Not sure if it counts as a commute but I'd fly back to Boston from China every two weeks and back 5 days later for 3 years.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:36 AM   #10
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While on our wedding cruise, we got word that DW's house had sold. We immediately closed the deal on our retirement home we had a contingency on.
It was in the waning days of my j*b, and the commute from my house was much shorter that from our new home.
Mon-Thursday stayed at my house. Fri night caught the 5:20 to our new home. Took DW out to dinner on the way home. Now for the bad part- Had to get DW up at 6AM to catch the 6:40 into work.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:43 AM   #11
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At one point my boss gave me an involuntary "promotion" to a gig that required that I arrive every day at 5 a.m. With the hourlong commute (normally a bit longer, but there is ZERO traffic on the road at 4 a.m.) I was getting up around 2:45. The kicker: on Fridays my job would start at 5 p.m. and go to midnight. Many Friday nights (early Saturday, really) I'd be just drowsing off when I'd hear the clock radio go "click" -- the sound it makes when it isn't set to go off. My normal wake-up time.

I did that for about 18 months until I was able to land something else -- at my destination employer, as it turned out.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:48 AM   #12
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I drive in moderate traffic about 30 minutes each way. I think everyone living in the northeast has had those 3 hour commutes in the snow!
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:54 AM   #13
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Had a few different ones. Never really had specific hours unless someone else scheduled me.

The last ten years was 25 miles mostly on I70 to downtown KCMO. Fourty five minutes most days, weather could add an hour or more. For ten years before that I commuted 65 miles one way to KCMO, an hour and fifteen each way, weather could add a couple of hours.

Travel to customer sites was sometimes enjoyable, mostly a huge pain. I often was called in when a customer had a big issue and was very annoyed at Megacorp. Sometimes these were disaster recoveries, always fun. I never knew I could w*rk 36 hours straight, have 12 hours off and do it again, and again. A week goes quickly like that.

As much as I disliked the commute my last straw was on a rare w*rk from home day. A client had really corrupted their database and a bunch of us were trying to come up with an acceptable recovery plan. Fourteen hours into it my VP decided he'd figured out the client's self made data corruption issue; it was now a hardware issue and I hadn't called the vendor! A large piece of my azz was still missing when I gave my notice two weeks later.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Test your memory, or maybe what you do today.
Last night, a dream. Going in to Chicago by train, from 1979 to 1984.

Up at 6AM in Lisle, Illinois. Dressed and breakfast by 6:30, wake jeanie up to get me to the train station by 7AM, to catch the 7:03 commuter express (2 stops) and into the Burlington Northern Union station in Chicago @ 7:41AM. Off the train, through the station, to the outside where the company school bus was waiting to shuttle us to the Montgomery Ward Tower, where my office was on the 19th floor. At my office by 8:05AM.

Afternoon... Boarded school bus at 4:30PM, to Train at 4:58PM, to Lisle at 5:50PM, and 20 minutes to walk from station, to my home at 6:10PM.

Miss any part of the schedule, no express, and add 40 minutes to the commute... each way.

By car, anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours each way, depending on traffic. Ugly drive.

Imagine that... 34 years later, and still remember the schedule. At best, three hours+ a day, at worst, missing the express, or driving, 4+ hours. Fifteen to twenty+ hours a week commute.

... And then there was the flying... Chicago, Maryland, Texas, California, Portland, Colorado, Albany and points between. Usually for large group meetings, meaning the night before, or very early AM flights.

Did I say a "Dream"?... Happens about once a year... Takes a full day to recover. In a way, this was an improvement from my previous position in Albany, when my normal week excluding the 25 minute commute, was about 65 hours. Retail management at the time, wasn't easy, hourwise.

So... your commute? Fond memories?
Ouch. We just had a teledoc diagnose our 1yr old with Pink Eye. I didn't get out of my pjs. I will be working from home today, in my pjs.

The times are a changin!

How many X did you miss the express?
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:57 AM   #15
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Mostly reasonable commutes, but two of them stand out in my memory due to the incredible traffic congestion.

Lived 5.5 miles from the office and driving took well over an hour. So I almost always rode the city bus instead. Took about the same time but I could read the newspaper and relax.

Lived 9 miles from the office and driving took nearly 1.5 hours. But I could drive less than a mile and take an express bus that only took 35 minutes. As long as my schedule permitted it, that's what I always did.
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Old 10-25-2018, 10:08 AM   #16
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my commute is terrible - it takes me 15 minutes door to door and I have to go about 4 miles
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Old 10-25-2018, 10:32 AM   #17
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I had a variety of different commutes in the 23 years I worked. I moved several times in the late 1980s so my starting point was different. My company moved twice so my destination was different. And my trip varied a little depending on what time I was leaving in the morning and what time I left in the afternoon or evening. Living and working based on a train schedule distorts the meaning of time. If I left the office 5 minutes earlier, I'd get home the same time because simply spend 5 more minutes waiting at Penn Station for my LIRR train. But leave 5 minutes later, and I'd sometimes get home 20 minutes later because I missed the train. It's a strange way to live and work.


Most mornings, I'd leave my place between 7:20 AM and 8:00 AM and head to my LIRR station. Having lived in 4 different areas on Long Island, I used 4 different stations. Two of them I had to drive to and park, 2 others, including the ones I used for 21 of the 23 years, I could walk to the train, a HUGE improvement.


Most of the time, I did not have to "change at Jamaica," those 3 terrible words no LIRR commuter likes to hear. Because my office was in lower Manhattan for the first 16 of the 23 years I worked, I had to take the subway from either Penn Station or Brooklyn, the two main destination stations of LIRR trains. The subway ride was roughly even, sometimes favoring one station depending on where my office was (Before or after its first relocation within downtown Manhattan).


The LIRR ride was 30-35 minutes for all but the very early days of my career. The subway was about 20 minutes. As bad as the LIRR was, the subway was the worst part because the trains were packed and I sometimes had to let one go by because not enough people got off so all of us who were waiting could board. Back then, it cost me about $150 per month for both trains.


The connection between the LIRR and subway was much easier at Brooklyn than at Penn, though. It was often a major PITA just to get off the platform at Penn. A lot depended on which platform the train arrived on. Some platforms had wider staircases and better escalators. Those platforms were brutally hot in the summer.


When the company moved to Jersey City, NJ, in 2001, the commute changed. The LIRR part was mostly the same, but I had to go to Penn Station, not Brooklyn. Once at Penn, I had to climb staircases and/or escalators to completely exit Penn Station to street level, a long, tiring climb. Then, I had to walk a long, crosstown block from 7th Avenue to 6th Avenue before entering the large Herald Square station. The last few years of those 7 years of this commute, they built an indoor sopping mall I could cut through to get to the PATH trains which would take me under the Hudson River to Jersey City, New Jersey. The PATH ride was pretty easy, as it was a reverse-commute and I was boarding an empty train The PATH ride was about the same time as the subway and it cost a little less.


Once in Jersey City, I had a long up some stairs and a steep ramp just to get to an escalator to take me to street level. From there, I would exit the station and cross Washington Blvd to get to my office. It was a short walk which improved a little bit thanks to a constructed crosswalk and traffic light a ear or so after we moved there.


Total time inbound was about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Because I had to allow more time to make my LIRR connection going outbound, the return trip took closer to 1 hour and 30 minutes.


The PATH system which is like a small subway system connection Jersey City, Hoboken, and Newark with midtown and lower Manhattan, was crippled after the 9/11 attacks. It took them 2 years to rebuild the destroyed World Trade Center station. This made all the PATH trains, even the reverse-commute ones I took, more crowded because all riders into and out of NY had to use the midtown line.


The NJ commute was mostly in my part-time working years although I had 7 weeks of it full-time. But even part-time, from 1-3 days a week, was 1-3 days too many - and it was expensive, costing me $20 per day. I simply had to rid myself of this long, tiring, and terrible commute.
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Old 10-25-2018, 11:03 AM   #18
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I had the same commute for 25 years... driving into Dallas from a DFW suburb. There was no mass transit option, and still isn't. It was 40 miles one way, so I averaged about 50-60 minutes. Bad weather would make it 1.5 hours. We get ice storms a couple times each year and I remember a few times taking 4-5 hours to get home.

Traffic was always bad and often got worse with seemingly non-stop construction. I usually tried to leave home early (6:00 - 6:30 am) to avoid the inevitable accident-related slowdowns. Then I usually left work late around 6:00 pm; got home ~7:00 pm. So, usually 13 hours away from home, five days a week, with two hours behind the wheel on overcrowded freeways. Not fun, but for the most part, I was kinda numb to the whole thing.

For three years late in my career, I was an expat at several different sites in Asia. Megacorp provided a private car and driver, so even though the distance/time was generally about the same as home, it was much less stressful. I used that time in the car to catch up on email, read, listen to music, or play games on my smartphone.

Upon returning to the US, I told my boss I was retiring after just one month of resuming my old commute. Obviously, that wasn't the only reason. But once I was FI, my tolerance for such work-related unpleasantries became very low.
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Old 10-25-2018, 11:03 AM   #19
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And here I always thought my commute was a killer. It was one of the prime reasons I finally fully retired. I started out with an express bus that was a ten minute drive from home took about 45 minutes and 25 miles to a location about 3 blocks from where I worked. That lasted about 2 years - very old buses that were so decrepit that you needed an umbrella inside the bus when it rained. Plus, they were never on time and only ran during rush hour. Next were car pools for over 20 years and through several location changes. A good solution until I outlasted the carpools. By then, mass rail transit had made it partway to the burbs. Drove to bus stop, took bus to rail and then was very near work. After that I was transferred to a location 10 miles from my home in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic. Oh frabjous joy, calloo, callay. 15 minutes or less in each direction. Lasted about 6 years. Then was transferred back downtown. Back to driving, bus and then rail. I handled that for 3 years and finally gave up. It was literally killing me. Plus, I had begun to hate the job.

Now that I am retired, the rail has been extended to my part of the county. Whoopee. I am happy for all the people who can use it daily. Also happy that I'm not one of them anymore. Oh, and BTW, the traffic here is far, far worse than it was when we moved to this area 42 years ago.
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Old 10-25-2018, 11:11 AM   #20
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So... your commute? Fond memories?
Except for a couple of years when I w@rked in downtown Chicago and rode Metra, my commutes were always by car.

Because of where we lived and where the offices I w@rked in were located, they were always long commutes. Over the course of my career, the shortest commute I had was 30 mins. each way. The longest was 75-90 mins. each way.

The only positive of those commutes was "reading" lots of books (I downloaded dozens of audiobooks onto my iPod before subscribing to Audible.) Just the other day, I was trying to figure out how I was able to read 32 books last year while w@rking, but after retiring at the end of January this year, have so far only managed to read 21. Then I remembered that a lot of the books I read last year were audiobooks.

Your description of your commute reminds me of my F-I-L. He walked to a commuter shuttlebus which took him to the local Metra station. He walked from the Ogilivie terminus (fka Northwestern) to his office in the Aon Center (fka Amoco and fka Standard Oil before that). He left the office at the same time every day for the reverse commute and, consequently, walked in the door every day at 6:05pm. You could set your watch by him.
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