Sunday, June 04, 2006

Expense review - transport part 2

The previous post rationalised the case for using public transport over owning a car. This post will fail to fully rationalise the case for using taxis over buses to the extent that we do.

Taxis are more expensive than buses. The cost of a taxi ride to the office is about HK$30. The same journey by bus is about HK$5. This is a big difference. Over the course of a month or a year the difference adds up to a meaningful sum of money. So I take the bus all the time? Right?

No. I take a taxi about 70% of the time. Why? The answer is combination of convenience and practicality. At some times of the day (off peak traffic) a taxi is quicker. At other times (peak traffic or raining), finding a taxi can take a while so I take the bus. The difference in commuting time is anything from 10 minutes to half an hour and is usually difficult to predict in advance.

I value that 30 minutes more than I do the HK$25 price difference. If I finish work early (say 7:30-8:00 it is the difference between spending some time with the children before they go to bed or not seeing them at all. If I work late, it is extra time with my wife or just unwinding before going to bed or, in some cases, extra sleep - all of which are very important to me.

While there are times when I think I am just being lazy, the non-economic price of switching to buses is just too high for me.

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