Decision Time

September 14, 2012

It’s hard not to think of my daily commute as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Do I want to take the Metro and risk Red Line crowding and craziness? Or, do I want to take the bus and risk an epic wait and downtown traffic? Usually, I decide to forget both options and just walk. It takes longer, but at least I know how the story ends.

You can probably guess what happens in the new YouTube series “Choose Your Commuting Adventure,” produced by Arlington Transportation Partners. The videos — inspired by the books and the movie “Clue” (although, tragically, Tim Curry is nowhere to be seen) — show a group of ladies hanging out in an office discussing how one of them should get to work while her car is in the shop.

In part one, she decides to rely on transit, saves lots of money and is happy. In part two, she starts riding her bike, saves lots of money and is happy. Part three is walking and part four is carpooling, and in both — spoiler alert — she ends up saving lots of money and being happy.

If only every choice commuters made led to such wonderful outcomes! In some cases, there are people who could radically improve their lives by rethinking the way they get to work. But the fact is that there are hassles in all kinds of transportation, whether you’re behind the wheel or being taken for a ride. And, typically, you’re picking between less-than-perfect options and settling on the one you can live with.

For lots of folks who decide to take Metro, that’s the reality. So I can understand why people got peeved this week at news that Metro wound up with a $28 million surplus for the past fiscal year at the same time riders were forced to shoulder a substantial fare hike.

Although the surplus money is pretty much guaranteed to go toward reducing how much WMATA asks for in funding, Twitter and blogs buzzed with other ideas: additional late-night service, escalator repairs, free transfers between buses and trains. My vote? Bouncers to regulate bad behavior, so everyone has a more pleasant trip.

But that’s not my choice to make.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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