When ever I get in the car for my trek to the train station this time of year, in the wee hours of the Hudson Valley morn, I realize I could have it worse. Sure, it is cold and dark. But, I could be Neil Page and Del Griffith. The characters, played by Steve Martin and John Candy, in Planes, Trains and Automobiles unfortunately had to sit in the back of Owen’s pickup truck on their way to the “people train” because “‘lessen you are a hog or a cattle” you aren’t getting one in Wichita. “People train run out of Stubbville.”
With that in mind, and the mass transit use tax subsidy now cut in half, now is as good as any time to shop around to see if I nee to change my “Stubbville.”
Beacon: Pros – Lots of super express trains, lots of express trains, lots of trains, did I mention there are a lot of trains. Plus, a Coffee/Snack shop on the platform. Cons – Most expensive mass transit option, station configuration creates massive traffic jams, ass numbing seats in the old “Shoreliner” passenger cars and because of its location on the edge of the Hudson River by far the coldest train station I’ve ever used.
Time: Best Case – 20 minute drive to the station. Hit one of the express trains that goes non-stop to Harlem and GCT (some are under 70 minutes). Then, a ride on the 4/5 subway downtown. Door to door it is 2:15 each way if I am living right. Probably more like 2:25-2:30.
Money: Unlimited monthly: $443 plus $20/month parking. $20/month to cross the Newburgh – Beacon Bridge and a tank of gas every couple of weeks. Plus, if I don’t want to walk 30 blocks add another $100 for subway rides.
Grand Total: A hair under $700/month
Salisbury Mills – Cornwall: Pros – Cheaper, newer cars with better seats, and you get to ride through NEW JERSEY! Cons – You get to ride through NEW JERSEY forcing a transfer in Secaucus to get to New York Penn Station, the longer ride, and the station is in the middle of no where.
Time: 30 minute drive to the station. Best ride is between 78 and 84 minutes from Salisbury to NYP with the necessary Secaucus transfer with, for me, the 20 minute walk. Probably looking at 2:30-2:35 if you hit it all right.
Money: Unlimited Monthly: $367 plus $20/month parking. No bridge to cross so no tolls. The drive is 5 miles longer so let’s throw in an extra half of a tank of gas for the month. No MetroCard needed for the subway because we are walking.
Grand Total: Lets say $525/month
Pros: Cheapest option, potentially no Port Authority stop, free parking Cons: Commuter plan somewhat rigid, You’ve ridden a bus, sorry motorcoach, right?
Time: 20 minute drive to the bus station. 1:33 – 1:40 trip (the bus stops near my office) Parking free. Probably 2:15 door to door if we don’t hit traffic however unlikely that sounds.
Money: $303.85/month. No subway and no parking charge.
Grand Total: Around $400/month.
Google Maps says it is about 1:30 door to door for the 148 mile round trip. That’s at two in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve Monday. You are going to use at least two and half tanks of gas a week ($600/month) and have to pay the tolls on the Thruway and to go over Tappan Zee, GWB or through the Lincoln. You also have to pay for parking. The garage near my office is $600/month. Hey, I can use my pre-tax parking benefit!
Grand Total: NOT AN OPTION
Happy New Year!