How a Scooter Can Shorten Your Commute
By: Nathan Ulrich
The average commute time in the United States is now about 25 minutes. In major metropolitan areas the commutes are typically longer, with New York City having the longest average commute of nearly 40 minutes each way. Some 8% of US workers commute more than 60 minutes each way.
Although there are often mass transit options available, getting to and from the train station at either end can be a major obstacle. In the New York City metropolitan area, for example, real estate prices within walking distance of commuter rail stations are significantly higher than those further away. Instead, many people are dropped off at the train station by their spouses or drive just a mile or two and park their cars at the train station (often at significant cost in parking fees).
A kick scooter is a great way to reduce the cost and time required to commute. For the sake of comparison, I looked at a “typical” trip between a home in Lynn, Massachusetts (a suburb on the North Shore) and an office in downtown Boston. The house is about one mile from the commuter rail station and the office is just over half a mile from North Station, the train terminus.
Commuting by car is about 12 miles. With absolutely no traffic (a rarity in Boston) the trip will take about 25 minutes, not including the time required to park and walk to your office. In realistic traffic during rush hour, the drive can take over an hour. Much of that is stop and go driving, which is hard on your car and very inefficient in terms of fuel consumption and emissions.
The commuter rail option takes about 24 minutes from Lynn Station to North Station. Let’s compare getting to and from the train stations. We’ll assume that you’re fairly comfortable with the schedule and only need to arrive at the station five minutes before your train is scheduled to depart.
If you walk from your home in Lynn to the train station, it will take about 20 minutes. Add to that the five minutes waiting and the 15 minutes to walk from North Station to your work for a total commute time of 64 minutes. That compares fairly well with the drive, saves about 6500 miles of wear and tear on your car per year, but it is more walking (1.6 miles each way) than is comfortable for most people.
Driving from your home to the train station will save a little time. During peak times it takes about 8 to 10 minutes but you have to allow a few more minutes to park and get to the platform.
What about using a kick scooter? You can comfortable scoot (without breaking a sweat) from your home to the Lynn train station in about 8 minutes. On the other end, you could scoot from North Station to your work in about 6 minutes. Total commute time: 43 minutes.
A folding bicycle would be very slightly faster (perhaps two to three minutes saved) but it is bulkier and more awkward to handle on the train. If you are further from the train station at either end, the bicycle starts to make more sense.