Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

COMMUTE: Sat Mar 18, 2006; #195 (on time)

My commute for Saturday March 18, 2006.

Morning - I took Amtrak Train #195 (PHL-NYC):
  • PHL 11:45 AM,
  • TRE Noon,
  • NWK 12:37,
  • NYC 1:08,
Had empty seat next to me but train was pretty full. Used 10 trip ticket. Been doing a huge amount of travelling, and I'm haven't been in the office much. Also been staying at the room in Jersey I'm renting by the week.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

COMMUTE: Tue Mar 7, 2006; #640 (on time)

My commute for Tuesday March 7, 2006.

Morning - I took Amtrak Train #640 (PHL-NYC):
  • PHL 7:55, 0
  • TRE 8:26, -2
  • NWK 9:01, -4
  • NYC 9:21, -2
Had empty seat next to me and train was less than hald full. Used AGR ticket.

COMMUTE: Mon Mar 6, 2006; #193 (on time)

Evening leg - took Amtrak Train #193 (NYC-PHL):
  • NYC 5:40, +1
  • NWK 5:53, -3
  • TRE (this train doesn't stop in Trenton)
  • PHL 6:57, -1
Seat next to me was empty but the train was full, used 10 trip ticket.

COMMUTE: Fri Mar 3, 2006; #130 (on time)

My commute for Friday March 3, 2006.

Morning - I took Amtrak Train #130 (PHL-NYC):
  • PHL 8:22, 0
  • TRE 8:49, +1
  • NWK 9:31, +4
  • NYC 9:47, +2
Seat next to me was empty, train was less than half full, used AGR ticket.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

How do my commuting costs compare to others?

... well it depends on the particulars of one's commute of course. Check out the Commute Calculator for estimates of your commuting costs. This guys says his commute costs him over $13,000 per year, so I'm doing a lot better than that. Compare your commuting costs to my costs and let me know.

2006 Amtrak Commuting Cost Savings Plan of Attack: Update

Despite the blog headline I still have no clear plan to minimize my commuting costs between NYC and Philly. In February and March I've been and will be travelling a lot for business and pleasure. This means I do not need to get a monthly pass for either month, which is good and which is a cornerstone of my savings strategy. I mean what a rip the Amtrak monthly pass is now, it's so not worth it to buy. So I bought a 10 trip ticket and have been cashing in AGR points for tickets in Feb and March.

But this strategy works well for specific months where I'm not commuting to NYC all that often, like Feb and March. When things return to a normal work pattern for me, like in April, I need a better plan. So my plan at the moment is to arrange to stay overnight in the NYC area. Folks rent out their places or sublease rooms all over the place in the burroughs and NJ. So I got a recomendation and picked a place. I can get the room for $50 for Monday through Wedneday night (or call it $200 for the month). I think this beats trying to get back to Philly by cheaper means, namely the Chinatown bus or NJ Transit/Septa; these options are just way too time consuming I feel.

I'd like to buy just a 10 trip ticket for March and coordinate stay overs so as not to burn through the 10 trip ticket too fast. 10 trips gives me an average of 2.5 one way trips per week. So I think coming up on Monday and heading back on Wednesday night is a plan for me. I'm traveling in March too so this helps preserve trips on the 10 trip ticket. I can get the room for $50 for Monday through Wedneday night, or $200 for the month. With a 10 trip ticket at $450 plus the $200/month to rent a room, I'm at $650 for the month which is basically the price for a monthly pass in most of 2005. But in March due to my business trips it'll be even less than $650, so I hope to be on budget for March.

I guess that's the current plan, take it month by month and try renting a room to save cost. I'll see how this goes in March and April and keep posting info.

Commute: February Wrap Up

Review of my Philly-NYC commuting patterns in February:

Trains Taken In February
  • Morning trains taken: 130, 170, 180, 640
  • Evening trains taken: 137, 175, 177, 187
Quick February Commute Stats
  • I took a total of 14 one way trips on Amtrak In February.
  • I have a 10 trip ticket ($448).
  • I have a bunch of AGR points to cash in for tickets
On Time Performance and Analysis for February
  • 4 of the 14 one way trips were late; making my personal on time performance rate this month ~70%
  • 3 of the 4 late trains were evening trains breaking a pattern I've been tracking that evening trains are more often on time compared to morning trains.
  • I didn't take train #642 at all, not sure if it's still running late every day.
  • Average travel time in the mornings: Generally the morning trains took just about 1 hour and 25 minutes, some did make it in under 1 hour 15 minutes. As noted prior trains may leave 30th Street late but once rolling the total travel time is fairly consistent.
  • Average travel time in the evenings: Evening trains on average took about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
  • Travel times in February tracked with January, travel times getting a couple minutes longer on average since I started tracking.