Thursday, March 02, 2006

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.


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