Commuting tools: Trains, ferries, cars ... moose?

Monday - 4/14/2014, 2:00am EDT

It's one thing to wonder how the other half lives. But even more importantly is how do they get to work? Do they have a commuting secret or a de-stresser that might lengthen your career? And lifespan?

Uncle Sam runs a very large, worldwide, 24/7 operation. For employees, getting to work can be as simple as walking or cycling, or...

How about dodging moose or road-hog bears? Feds from Alaska to Maine to Montana factor the critters into their daily commute. Or how about about motor biking through the Balkans? Or taking high-tea on a commuter ferry or riding a cable car in San Francisco Bay?

Some feds say years of a long, miserable commute have impacted their health. And made them retire ASAP. Others made it a fun part of the day.

Examples:

  • "When I first started with this agency, my commute was a nightmare. I would ride into work with my sister-in-law (which wasn't bad). My commute home consisted of: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday take a bus and meet my sister-in-law. Wednesday take one ferry home. Friday take a different ferry and meet my sister-in-law. Commute home would take anywhere from one hour to two.

    "Now, my commute is one of the best. I leave my house around 5am to catch the 5:30am ferry. During the hour boat ride, I can have a cup of coffee and donut, read, check the Internet, or take a nap. Once I get to the city, I could go into the ferry building and buy breakfast (anywhere from a sandwich to fresh (just out of the oven) bread; Starbucks, Blue Bottle or Peaks Coffee is available too). I then jump on a vintage trolley that stops just outside my building. My return trip is much the same (except I could go into the ferry building and get an ice cream or glass of wine), unless I ride home with my friend who drives in every day. Then I just sit back and enjoy the conversation.

    "Believe it or not, there is a couple of issues for the return trip home. One, my trolley stop is right after a major tourist attraction so there are days I have to wait two to three trolleys before I can get on. The other is the cost. My costs consist of a monthly parking pass that is $20, monthly ferry pass is $290, and the monthly trolley pass is $61 (total $371). My agency does supplement our commute cost with $125 a month. — M in San Francisco

    Federal Report reader "Nick at State" with his Honda Goldwing at the cherry blossoms in Washington this week.

  • "Easy Rider, that's me. I ride my 2012 Honda Goldwing to work on HOV from Alexandria to Foggy Bottom. An easy 20-minute glide to work and home during the height of rush hour. I also rode my bike in Greece and the Balkans last year with my black U.S. diplomatic plates." Nick at the State

  • "For 3 and 1/2 months a few years ago, I used to commute daily between Helena and Missoula in Montana, 120 miles — one way. I had to go over a mountain pass, two-lane roads and some interstate, and this was in the winter! There used to be a moose who would stand in the same spot by the side of the road occasionally, like a wildlife sentry. Nowadays, I live in downtown Baltimore and breeze past all the commuters trying to get into town as I head away from downtown to my work. My commute takes less than 20 minutes. But I do miss the moose. — Kelly Garza

  • "My commute is probably one of the easy ones. I walk a half-mile to my neighborhood Metro station in Alexandria — for the exercise of course. The Yellow Line metro drops me off in 20 minutes at a stop two blocks from my office in downtown D.C. I pass the time on the train reading the Washington Post Express (I like the "Eye Openers" section at the beginning). — Ross at IRS

  • "I'm a retired Fed with 30+ years of commuting in the D.C. metro area. I live in Laurel, Md., and in my time with Defense I've commuted to Herndon, Reston, Merrifield, Tysons, Clarendon, the Pentagon, Joint Base Anacostia, and a few other locations. I've commuted alone, car-pooled, and used Metro.

    "About three years ago, I was offered a plum assignment to lead a new initiative crossing multiple agencies. Lots of prestige, face-time at the top, and travel to exciting and not so exciting locations like Stuttgart and St. Louis. I retired rather than take the job. Why? The commute. It would have been from Laurel to the Springfield mixing bowl area or 2+ hours each way daily.

    "I took a job at Ft. Meade, a leisurely nine miles from home. Within 30 days, I was off of three out of four blood pressure medications. The commute had literally been killing me. Yes, the change has meant altering my retirement plans, but I couldn't be happier." — Melissa, semi-retired Fed


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

In 2012, more parents named their daughters "Khaleesi" — the name of a character in the HBO show Game of Thrones — than "Betsy" or "Nadine," according to data from the Social Security Administration.

(Source: Jezebel)


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