The Road Less Expensive

Mike: Last night, I returned from Dallas and landed at LaGuardia airport. I thought I’d take the bus to the nearest subway station, and then take the subway back to my apartment, so I went to the bus stop and waited. And waited. A half hour went by, and a bunch of buses showed up, but not the one I needed. I was very tempted to get into a cab and pay $65 (including tip), but I just didn’t want to spend that money. What would you have done?

Logan: Oh. Well, if I had $65, I would have taken a cab. I’m very kind to myself, well, all the time really, but especially around travel. What did you do?

Mike: There’s just so many things I’d rather spend $65 on. Taking the bus and subway would probably take about an hour, and I could just use my 30-day unlimited MetroCard, so the trip would be already paid for. So I stood there and thought about that for a long time! And while I was thinking about that, 45 minutes passed, and the bus finally arrived. So I got on.

Logan: Oh so it worked out! I would have quit a lot sooner. I probably actually would have never even stood in line. Which … is a perfect example of us being TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I just don’t associate travel costs as choices, really. Like, $10 bloody marys and $20 veggie burgers in the airport don’t count. It’s just the cost of doing business.

Mike: That’s just so crazy to me, haha. I mean, I probably would have given up after an hour, but I had just spent $50 to take a cab from my hotel to the Dallas airport, and I just didn’t want to pay for another cab ride.

Though, actually, there were a lot of really annoyed people waiting at the bus stop. I would have asked if there was anyone willing to split the costs of cab ride with me.

Logan: What if one of them was a murderer?

Mike: Then at least the cab driver would be there as a witness? Haha, you and your apocalyptic sensibility.

Logan: Well I’m glad you didn’t spend all that money. But: Mike, there wasn’t a free hotel airport shuttle?

Mike: No. I guess the hotel was too far away. It was a 30-minute ride.

Logan: What will you spend that $65 on? You should get a treat. Your patience paid off! Paid off in the form of $65!

Mike: Well, I need to go to the grocery store. So I saved money for a week’s worth of groceries, basically.

Logan: Well, buy yourself a special treat at the grocery store. A piece of cake that it will take you a week to eat. And then every time you take a bite, you can thank yourself for your patience.

Mike: Oh, I plan on it!

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12 Comments / Post A Comment

SuperShuttle is a great compromise between mass transit and taxi. It’s door to door so it’s convenient and less of a hassle after your return flight but you’ll have to make a few stops for other people. Usually runs $35-$40 roundtrip.

The only problem I’ve run into was one time when my flight was delayed a few hours. I got into JFK around 3am and they said it would be an hour for the shuttle to show up so I just cabbed it.

@forget it i quit Yeah I used Prime Time all the time when I lived in LA, and it was great (usually).

jfruh (#161)

The thing is that you have to include travelling-to-and-from-the-airport costs as part of your travel calculus, especially in NYC where you actually have choices! I mean, in effect, travelling out of JFK is $120 cheaper (or whatever your two-way cab equivalent is) because of AirTrain. I mean, I understand there is a theoretical bus option but as you discovered it sucks.

mishaps (#65)

@jfruh yeah, AirTrain is fantastic! Plus, it lessens your (my) I’ll-miss-my-flight stress to be able to take a train, especially when it’s a rush-hour-adjacent flight.

readyornot (#816)

@jfruh Totally agree, definitely have to include the cost of getting to and from the airport on both ends. But, it’s funny, I think of JFK as costing more due to cab. I guess it’s because in New York I’m going to the UWS, and the A->3->1 train takes like 2 hours. M60 has never been as problematic for me as it was in this story, though it is ALWAYS crowded with people and bags.

jfruh (#161)

@readyornot If you’re on the UWS, you could do 1 to Penn Station and then take LIRR to Jamaica and then AirTrain. A bit more expensive but still much cheaper than a cab and def. shorter than two hours.

readyornot (#816)

@jfruh I had totally forgotten about this option. I will remind my husband next time we’re in town to visit his folks. Thanks!

Mobil taxi is $25 from LGA to Williamsburg/Bushwick and the guy is always there the minute you exit the terminal.

Very commendable. I could never think like Mike, ever. However, Time and Psychological Drainage are huge factors in my value calculations. Since I place higher worth on those things, I guess I am destined to always be down to my last $15.

wearitcounts (#772)

oh man mike dang you and i had like, identical weekends.

i too suffered delays/canceled flights (both ways). i too was a tired, weary, huddled mass. i too arrived at the airport, exhausted and wondering if i should bite bullet and pay $30+ for a cab to work the second half of the day (when i’d intended to get home the night before and been up since 4 am and through 3 states that morning) so i wouldn’t have to deal with three different subway lines?

and as i thought about it, the silver line pulled up. and then i got on. and i didn’t pay anything. and while i think of myself as generally terrible with money, today i channelled mike dang, and i was PROUD.

littleoaks (#1,801)

I’m becoming less and less fond of The Road Less Expensive, especially since the trip along said road is insanely time-consuming with so many opportunities for everything to fall apart, after which I am usually on the hook for spending more money. D.C. also has all the airport choices (great!) and has inexpensive buses that go out to Dulles and BWI where all the cheaper flights live (great!), except it takes a freaking eternity to get there (sucks!). This Christmas, I ponied up extra for The Road Most Expensive, a direct fight out of National, and could not be more excited to depart for the airport an hour before my plane leaves. OK, an hour and 15 minutes.

LHOOQ (#1,634)

I always take the road less expensive when it comes to flying, because every aspect of flying is uncomfortable and a hassle. You might as well be miserable and still have money instead of being miserable and spending all of your money. It would be different if the difference between a cab and the bus, or 1st class and coach, was, say, 30%, but it’s not. I also work out which airport concession sells the most caffeine for the least money if I have time to kill.

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