- (Photo: flickr/ep_jhu)
Call it the Summer of the Crunched Commuter. As if commuting wasn't depressing enough on its own, transportation costs have climbed across multiple forms in recent weeks here in Washington, D.C. Transportation is, quite simply, more expensive, which is unfortunate considering we're already living in a pricey city and scrabbling our way out of recession-era finances. Let's quickly review how our commute prices are rising as we move into mid-April.
Cabs? You knew this price hike was coming. It's up to $2.16 per mile from $1.50, among other changes, and will kick in on April 21.
Metro or bus lines? God knows that fare hike's been a long, painful way coming. The Metro Board will formally decide on the nature of the hike in less than two weeks and the higher prices will crush us beginning on July 1 ... to the tune of more than $150,000 additional rider dollars a day for the transit agency. Will that mean more escalators will work? Cross your fingers.
And then there's cars.
Automobile drivers will face some of the highest gas prices around. I've watched my local station at Georgia Ave and Shepherd Street NW creep upward for months and break the perilous $4 mark. Last Wednesday, AAA Mid-Atlantic announced that D.C. pays the highest gas prices in the lower 48 United States second to California. The average District gas price on Tuesday last week was $4.18 a gallon, 22 cents higher than a month ago. The national average is at $3.92. Life is not easy for the driver — many of whom still have to drive and can't easily or affordably embrace car-free options. I know people who work for employers who aren't Metro accessible, for places farther from the District's core. They need cars to get to work and to get any number of places, and it's not an easy year to be on the road.
Even local car-sharing giant Zipcar announced it will raise its hourly rates by a couple percent earlier this month.
What options does that leave for D.C. residents who want to get to and from work with enough money leftover for a rooftop summer drink? Not many. Bicycling and walking will remain, perhaps, the most affordable as well as healthy ways to travel the city in the coming months.