If there were some sort of award for alternative commuting, we would’ve been eligible

A few projects ago, I worked on a team whose members came to work by a wide variety of modes. If there were some sort of award for alternative commuting, we would've been eligible.

  • Two bicyclists.
  • One runner.
  • One motorcyclist.
  • Two full-time telecommuters.
  • One part-time telecommuter.
  • One traditional car commuter. (Freak.)

One of the full-time telecommuters was based in Spain, which was handy because he was available to deal with issues that cropped up while everybody in Redmond was sleeping.

Perhaps to compensate for all the gasoline being saved by his employees, our manager drove an oversized pick-up truck to work.

Comments (17)
  1. Danny says:

    "Perhaps to compensate for all the gasoline being saved by his employees, our manager drove an oversized pick-up truck to work."

    Loool, this wins the "punch line of the year" award. But maybe he was wearing a plastic painted as an oversized pick-up truck on top of his bicycle, did you check it?;)

  2. anyfoo says:

    In most european cities, the "traditional" commuter would be the one coming via public transport. Which isn't even in your list :( Having lived in the US (specifically the Bay Area) for a few months, I was really shocked just how bad your public transport was.

  3. sirin says:

    Public transport is for evil communists!

  4. Unicron says:

    What, no unicyclists? Try again next year, scrubs.

  5. Jonathan says:

    And how did the part-time telecommuter commute?

  6. Joshua says:

    A telecommuter is someone who teleports to work.

    Or rather that's how you'd like it to be.

  7. David Walker says:

    @anyfoo:  Which "Bay Area"?  The San Francisco Bay area has pretty good public transportation, or so I thought when I lived there.  I commuted from Concord to San Francisco every day by light rail (BART train) for a long time (30 miles).

  8. Lee C. says:

    My experience of living in the Seattle area for five years is that whether you think their public transit system is fantastic or terrible depends on (a) whether you work in one of a handful of downtown cores, and (b) whether you work Monday-Friday during roughly daytime hours. I don't know if the same applies to the SF Bay Area.

  9. Sven Groot says:

    I was in San Francisco a while back, and my experience from talking to some locals is that the public transit system there is not as bad as in most other places in the states. I was staying in San Jose for a conference and used the train to go up to the city on my one free day, and that worked reasonably well.

    Still, I live in Tokyo. By comparison, public transportation is bad anywhere else. You're pretty much never further than a stone's throw away from a train or subway station.

  10. Larry Hosken says:

    Yeahbut how many of those bikes were recumbents?

  11. anyfoo says:

    @David Walker: Yes, specifically Santa Clara Valley. The SCV bus system was a real pain, and the only train relevant for me was the CalTrain.

  12. anyfoo says:

    Have to say, however, that I have no bad memories of the public transit systems within San Francisco (or also New York, when I visited). So at least in some cities, if you stay within its bounds, it might be okay. But that's especially hard in the Silicon Valley…

  13. Christian says:


    Proposition 602 might help:


  14. Different freak. says:

    That's it. I'm gonna pogo stick to work tomorrow.

  15. Brian_EE says:

    @anyfoo: "I was really shocked just how bad your public transport was."

    Let me clue you in a big difference between the US and most European countries: Geographical size.

    There is no way the US could ever approach the public transit availability (relative to population size) as other countries, because we are too spread out. The major cities do a fair job with subway, rail, and bus. Outside that, it becomes too impractical.

  16. ChuckOp says:

    Lest anyone get the wrong idea, Microsoft, particularly in Seattle has been a forceful proponent of public transit.  In addition to King County Metro, Microsoft runs a fleet of buses that bring in workers from many surrounding areas.  I was very impressed that their was very comfortable coaches that ran relatively close to where I lived, which was considered an unincorporated rural area.

    FYI, I found the San Jose public transit system to be very comprehensive.  Doesn't compare to the London and Reading region of England, but very good.

    I think another major reason in the differences in public transit in United States vs. Europe is simply cultural.  While geographic distances area a consideration, traditional tax and economic policies make land and automobile ownership easier and cheaper in the United States than Europe.  That's my opinion of course.

  17. Silly says:

    Isn't the lack of 'good' public transport in much of the US due to the cultural impacts of capitalism, postwar wealth, and US-style government? en.wikipedia.org/…/General_Motors_Streetcar_Conspiracy

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