Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

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whereskyle
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Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

Hello all,

I hope this finds you well.

I am taking a job at a distant office for a partially remote position beginning in August. (The position was partially remote pre-covid. During covid it is completely remote, and post-covid I imagine it may be slightly more remote friendly than it was, which was very remote friendly.) When I start I will need to drive about an hour (in good traffic) or an hour and a half (in bad traffic) to and from work most days during an extended orientation period. After 3 months, I will be able to come and go to the office pretty much as I please. I have been planning to buy a monthly metropass that will get me daily access to a train that takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to and from my destination. The problem with the pass is the cost, over $340 per month for the pass and $80 per month for a parking pass. Add to that the fact that I would be paying for days that I do not need to go to the office. Ultimately, I plan to make the trip at most 3 days per week. For that reason, I am now considering whether an inexpensive car intended solely for my commute makes more sense financially.

My first request for input is: car or train? I had been leaning towards the train for the lifestyle benefit but now I am realizing that the whole commute will take longer if I am indeed commuting to train station, taking train, then commuting from the train station on each leg of the trip and that, over the long term, it will likely greatly exceed the cost of a car even with insurance and upkeep.

Second question: What would you recommend in terms of make/model/year for a reliable car around $5k? I don't want a car payment, and I have $5k free. My favorite inexpensive cars that I have owned are a '97 Toyota Corolla and a '95 Honda Civic. Currently, we have a sub-$300 monthly payment on a 2018 Civic, so I'm not looking for another car payment. Would anyone recommend that I look into any particular makes/models/years for a car circa $5k?

Thanks, all!
Last edited by whereskyle on Thu May 21, 2020 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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newyorker
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by newyorker »

100% car. Much better qol.


And I highly recommend you spend some money and get a good usable car. My recommendation would be toyota rav4. Used car can give much more headache than you would want.
rk6
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by rk6 »

Can you provide location information on the cities, highways and stations you are talking about.
The answers to your questions may partially depend on where.
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whereskyle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

newyorker wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:35 am 100% car. Much better qol.


And I highly recommend you spend some money and get a good usable car. My recommendation would be toyota rav4. Used car can give much more headache than you would want.
Thanks. Any ideas on which years?
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
bloom2708
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by bloom2708 »

Ouch. Tough commute. Even for a short period.

A reliable $5k car may be tough to find. How often can you be stranded on your commute? I kid of course.

I would start on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Set the max price to $4,500 (leaving room for taxes, license, insurance) and set Title Status = Clean (on Craigslist). Search "By Owner".

See what is out there in your area. You don't get much for that price. Most cars will already be in the 130k to 150k mile range or higher.

A Corolla or Civic with 120k+ miles is probably a good place to start. Maybe a Nissan Sentra or a Toyota Prius with high miles.

I would make sure you have a repair fund in place. Does your current car have to stay home? Or is it a lease where you want to limit miles driven? Could you take the newer/reliable car and leave the beater at home.
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whereskyle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

rk6 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:37 am Can you provide location information on the cities, highways and stations you are talking about.
The answers to your questions may partially depend on where.
Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
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whereskyle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

bloom2708 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:40 am Ouch. Tough commute. Even for a short period.

A reliable $5k car may be tough to find. How often can you be stranded on your commute? I kid of course.

I would start on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Set the max price to $4,500 (leaving room for taxes, license, insurance) and set Title Status = Clean (on Craigslist). Search "By Owner".

See what is out there in your area. You don't get much for that price. Most cars will already be in the 130k to 150k mile range or higher.

A Corolla or Civic with 120k+ miles is probably a good place to start. Maybe a Nissan Sentra or a Toyota Prius with high miles.

I would make sure you have a repair fund in place. Does your current car have to stay home? Or is it a lease where you want to limit miles driven? Could you take the newer/reliable car and leave the beater at home.
We might be able to make this work depending on what we do for childcare, which of course in covid-times is in flux. However, my default plan is to leave the wife with the newer car since she will typically have our 18-month old. (She is an independent contractor who works irregular hours and will need a car). Of course, having two new cars would be ideal, but having $700/month in car payments would not be.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
newyorker
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by newyorker »

whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:39 am
newyorker wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:35 am 100% car. Much better qol.


And I highly recommend you spend some money and get a good usable car. My recommendation would be toyota rav4. Used car can give much more headache than you would want.
Thanks. Any ideas on which years?

Just outta curiosity, if your SO using your civic for her commute? Id look into rav4 and cr-v. You dont have a suv so it will come handy when you need it. Recommend spending 10k for a decent car.
newyorker
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by newyorker »

Nvm saw my ur wife needs it. Def spend more than 5k. The stress of driving 5k junk isnt worth it
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

How would you get to the train station? Would you still need a car and parking charges to take the train at your end?

For orientation, you could get the monthly pass. After that, it makes no sense. Pay per ride.

For a $5k car, look at 4 cylinder 1st generation or 1.5th generation Ford Fusions. They are Mazda 6 under the skin and the 2.3L 4 cylinder is a bulletproof Mazda unit used in a multitude of cars and pickups. Both auto and manual are fine for this. If you insist on a 6 cylinder, you're getting a Ford garbage engine paired with a Ford even-more-garbage auto transmission. Nothing wrong with Ford (well, the dual clutch focus/fiesta is an abortion) but the Mazda units are far superior. Things to watch are hard lines for accessory and cooling. So transmission cooler lines for the auto. And power steering hard lines that wind down to the bottom of the engine compartment. They rust out and spring leaks. Both are easy fixes. Mazda 6's have the same issues. NAPA stocks replacement line sets because....well....they all rust out.

You'll get more car than with a Corolla/Civic and junkyards are full of them because they hold no value, so literally dent 2 doors and a fender and insurance will total the car (1st hand....mine had 2 doors and a fender dented and they totaled it). $5k will easily buy you one of these. The last year was 2012 for these generations. The panels are slightly different between gen 1 and 1.5. Look at the tail light. If it swoops down at the back corner, that's a gen 1.5. I think the first year of that was 2010.

Lots of low mileage ones out there because grandmothers bought them. (I got mine from my mom)
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whereskyle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

newyorker wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:44 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:39 am
newyorker wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:35 am 100% car. Much better qol.


And I highly recommend you spend some money and get a good usable car. My recommendation would be toyota rav4. Used car can give much more headache than you would want.
Thanks. Any ideas on which years?

Just outta curiosity, if your SO using your civic for her commute? Id look into rav4 and cr-v. You dont have a suv so it will come handy when you need it. Recommend spending 10k for a decent car.
It's true. We probably just need to suck it up and find a CRV below $10k. A $100 monthly payment would be cheaper than the train even after insurance, upkeep, and gas.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
02nz
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by 02nz »

whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:47 am How would you get to the train station? Would you still need a car and parking charges to take the train at your end?

For orientation, you could get the monthly pass. After that, it makes no sense. Pay per ride.

For a $5k car, look at 4 cylinder 1st generation or 1.5th generation Ford Fusions. They are Mazda 6 under the skin and the 2.3L 4 cylinder is a bulletproof Mazda unit used in a multitude of cars and pickups. Both auto and manual are fine for this. If you insist on a 6 cylinder, you're getting a Ford garbage engine paired with a Ford even-more-garbage auto transmission. Nothing wrong with Ford (well, the dual clutch focus/fiesta is an abortion) but the Mazda units are far superior. Things to watch are hard lines for accessory and cooling. So transmission cooler lines for the auto. And power steering hard lines that wind down to the bottom of the engine compartment. They rust out and spring leaks. Both are easy fixes. Mazda 6's have the same issues. NAPA stocks replacement line sets because....well....they all rust out.

You'll get more car than with a Corolla/Civic and junkyards are full of them because they hold no value, so literally dent 2 doors and a fender and insurance will total the car (1st hand....mine had 2 doors and a fender dented and they totaled it). $5k will easily buy you one of these. The last year was 2012 for these generations. The panels are slightly different between gen 1 and 1.5. Look at the tail light. If it swoops down at the back corner, that's a gen 1.5. I think the first year of that was 2010.

Lots of low mileage ones out there because grandmothers bought them. (I got mine from my mom)
Thanks for the insight into this option!
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by caffeperfavore »

Would you be able to do work on the train? If so, that sounds better than fighting traffic every day even if it takes longer. At least it could be useful time rather than stressful time.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by runner3081 »

02nz wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
I used to agree and even with parking in a downtown location, would switch it up and ride the bus when I lived in Seattle.

Now, in the new post-COVID world, not sure mass transit is something I would entertain.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

02nz wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
Excellent point. Reminds me why I've leaned toward the train. Is it worth $200/month? That's $2400 I could put into the market.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
02nz
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by 02nz »

runner3081 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:55 am
02nz wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
I used to agree and even with parking in a downtown location, would switch it up and ride the bus when I lived in Seattle.

Now, in the new post-COVID world, not sure mass transit is something I would entertain.
Nothing in life is risk-free; 2-3 hours on the roads is also pretty high-risk. Public transit systems are stepping up cleaning. The risk of transmission is also reduced with mask wearing. While I would've avoided say the NYC metro during the worst of the pandemic, my guess is public transit in FL (even with some risk from COVID) is still safer than driving 2-3 hours. (If this is the Tri-Rail, I've taken it and it's FAR less crowded compared to subways in big cities like NY and DC.)
Last edited by 02nz on Thu May 21, 2020 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by galawdawg »

Are you looking at taking Tri-Rail? If so, the monthly regional pass cost is $155 (or if your employer has a discount program, it is $131.75. The monthly pass without Metro-Dade transit is $110 (or $93.50 with employer discount) and parking is free at Tri-Rail stations. Once your orientation is over, you can also get a twelve-trip pass with price based upon zones traveled. And depending on where the train station is in relationship to your home, it might be considerably less expensive to take Uber or Lyft to and from the station.

I assume the price you mentioned for the monthly pass is for Brightline. Does Tri-Rail not service your area?
Last edited by galawdawg on Thu May 21, 2020 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
rk6
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by rk6 »

Note that if the OP has a lot of flexibility in WFH hours vs office visits, perhaps the trips into and from the office on the train can be timed to very early AM and very early PM, when the trains are presumably even less crowded- thus lowering the social distancing risk some more.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

galawdawg wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 10:03 am Are you looking at taking Tri-Rail? If so, the monthly regional pass cost is $155 (or if your employer has a discount program, it is $131.75. The monthly pass without Metro-Dade transit is $110 (or $93.50 with employer discount) and parking is free at Tri-Rail stations. Once your orientation is over, you can also get a twelve-trip pass with price based upon zones traveled. And depending on where the train station is in relationship to your home, it might be considerably less expensive to take Uber or Lyft to and from the station.

If you aren't looking at Tri-Rail, which rail system would you be taking?
Brightline is faster and with less stops, but less expensive. I have considered tri-rail for the lower cost, but the commute I'm looking at via Tri-rail will be at least two hours including travel from home/work to station. I had been leaning towards the train so that I could work on it, but now I'm concerned about the time to and from stations and the waiting time for the trains adding up.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by FineOne »

whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:56 am
02nz wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
Excellent point. Reminds me why I've leaned toward the train. Is it worth $200/month? That's $2400 I could put into the market.
Avoiding driving 3 hours a day is trivially worth $200/month. Build into your cost estimate the long-term health cost of commuting (high blood pressure, back aches etc). At least on a train you can stand up, walk around, eat something etc.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -its-toll/
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by genzboglehead »

Phys89 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 10:09 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:56 am
02nz wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
Excellent point. Reminds me why I've leaned toward the train. Is it worth $200/month? That's $2400 I could put into the market.
Avoiding driving 3 hours a day is trivially worth $200/month. Build into your cost estimate the long-term health cost of commuting (high blood pressure, back aches etc). At least on a train you can stand up, walk around, eat something etc.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -its-toll/
I think by the time you add gas and insurance it will easily make the car more expensive than the train.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by Watty »

Could you move closer to that job?

Even after orientation doing that three days a week would be rough.

The conditions on the train also make a difference since being in a comfortable seat with good air conditioning is a lot different than standing in a packed hot train.
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area.
Would you have toll roads? It has been a while but as I recall there were a lot of them in South Florida.
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:30 am My first request for input is: car or train?
I think that the logical thing would be to try the train for a while and also try driving occasionally in your other car and then decide. That would also give you a chance to make sure that the new job is working out like you expect.

That said at least cost wise I don't see how the train costs you listed would be any less than the car payment and gas for a modest new car or late model used car.
bloom2708 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:40 am A reliable $5k car may be tough to find.
+1

A huge question with cars in that price range is if you are able to do most of the work on it yourself. I don't do much work on cars so I have found that older cars are a lot harder to justify.

There have also been a lot of safety improvements over the last ten years. In 2012 ESC, which is a good safety feature to have became standard equipment. At about the same time they added a new side offset crash test which a lot of cars did badly on so the manufactures improved them. Around 2018 a lot of the new advanced safety features like automatic braking were added and Toyota made them standard on a lot of models. Adaptation cruise control could be a really nice feature to have if traffic if it has the "stop and go" feature.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by galawdawg »

whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 10:08 am Brightline is faster and with less stops, but less expensive. I have considered tri-rail for the lower cost, but the commute I'm looking at via Tri-rail will be at least two hours including travel from home/work to station. I had been leaning towards the train so that I could work on it, but now I'm concerned about the time to and from stations and the waiting time for the trains adding up.
I assume you mean that Brightline is more expensive.

Of course, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing approach. How many days per month will you NEED to go into the office after the orientation period? Can you do it once or twice a week instead of three days a week? You may want to think about renting a car to commute during your orientation period when you have to go in every day for three months and once that ends, take the train for the occasional trips to the office.

That way you shorten your commute during the period you are going in to Miami every day and once you begin working remotely, you avoid the expense of the extra car for just those infrequent times you have to travel to the office.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

galawdawg wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 10:18 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 10:08 am Brightline is faster and with less stops, but less expensive. I have considered tri-rail for the lower cost, but the commute I'm looking at via Tri-rail will be at least two hours including travel from home/work to station. I had been leaning towards the train so that I could work on it, but now I'm concerned about the time to and from stations and the waiting time for the trains adding up.
I assume you mean that Brightline is more expensive.

Of course, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing approach. How many days per month will you go into the office after the orientation period? You may want to think about renting a car to commute during your orientation period when you have to go in every day for three months and once that ends, take the train for the occasional trips to the office.

That way you shorten your commute during the period you are going in to Miami every day and once you begin working remotely, you avoid the expense of the extra car for just those infrequent times you have to travel to the office.
Yes, you assume correctly. The plan is not to go very frequently, and the employer guarantees everyone in my position 1 work day from home per week. Spoke with the boss about the distance (blame the wife who insists on moving no closer. it was a part of the deal when i took this, my dream, job) and boss promised flexibility. Everyone in the office knows that people in my position don't need to be present, and the word around the office is "I come in when I feel like it and at pretty much whichever time I feel like," so I am counting on 3 days a week as a max within the first year. If that's not the case, might need to reconsider my dream job.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by galawdawg »

When you mentioned "very remote friendly" in your initial post, what came to mind was going in to the office maybe four to six times a month. :happy

When I was a DA, starting back in 2007, I gave my staff the option of working from home one day per week or working four ten-hour days per week in the office (all scheduled around court dates). And I didn't consider myself "remote friendly"
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by Beehave »

If you can sit on a train and read or relax it's a worthwhile benefit over driving. If the trains are crowded, the appeal of the train commute wears thinner (my experience, and that doesn't even include Covid-19 issues).

If you want an inexpensive reliable car, find a used Corolla that was manufactured at the Toyota Cambridge Ontario plant pre-2015:

( https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/ontari ... -1.3118835)

The VIN should start with 2 (Canada). Corollas. as you are already aware, are rock-solid. The ones from Cambridge were the recent absolute cream of the crop. If you find a good one produced in the US plants or Japan that's fine, but I'm trying to answer this specific question abut the very best possible shot at finding reliability that is inexpensive for a long vehicle commute.

Good luck and best wishes.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

galawdawg wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 10:27 am When you mentioned "very remote friendly" in your initial post, what came to mind was going in to the office maybe four to six times a month. :happy

When I was a DA, starting back in 2007, I gave my staff the option of working from home one day per week or working four ten-hour days per week in the office (all scheduled around court dates). And I didn't consider myself "remote friendly"
It's an appellate attorney position. I think, once I settle in and have delivered a few solid briefs, 3 office days a week as a max will be perfectly fine.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
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whereskyle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

Beehave wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 am If you can sit on a train and read or relax it's a worthwhile benefit over driving. If the trains are crowded, the appeal of the train commute wears thinner (my experience, and that doesn't even include Covid-19 issues).

If you want an inexpensive reliable car, find a used Corolla that was manufactured at the Toyota Cambridge Ontario plant pre-2015:

( https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/ontari ... -1.3118835)

The VIN should start with 2 (Canada). Corollas. as you are already aware, are rock-solid. The ones from Cambridge were the recent absolute cream of the crop. If you find a good one produced in the US plants or Japan that's fine, but I'm trying to answer this specific question abut the very best possible shot at finding reliability that is inexpensive for a long vehicle commute.

Good luck and best wishes.
Thanks very much for the specifically tailored insight!
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
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galawdawg
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by galawdawg »

whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 11:25 am It's an appellate attorney position. I think, once I settle in and have delivered a few solid briefs, 3 office days a week as a max will be perfectly fine.
That type of position is perfect for working remotely. In fact, I almost always worked on my appellate briefs from home since the typical office "interruptions" seemed to always occur in the middle of a brilliant insight about how to frame a legal position or distinguish a case and once the interruption was over, I found it difficult to reconstruct exactly how I was going to make the argument.

Even though I was able to shut my door and give "do not disturb" instructions to my staff, it never failed that those were the days when one of the judges would "drop by" just wanting to chat. :o And none of my staff was willing to tell a Superior Court judge, sorry, but no, he can't see you!

Unless it is a "cultural" thing, I'm surprised that a remote-working friendly law firm would require more than one day a week in the office for an appellate attorney. I know a few appellate attorneys who probably don't go into the office more than once or twice a month absent some unusual need for in-person collaboration. But, their work product is top notch and their productivity very well-established.

Good luck in the new position.
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whereskyle
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by whereskyle »

galawdawg wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 11:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 11:25 am It's an appellate attorney position. I think, once I settle in and have delivered a few solid briefs, 3 office days a week as a max will be perfectly fine.
That type of position is perfect for working remotely. In fact, I almost always worked on my appellate briefs from home since the typical office "interruptions" seemed to always occur in the middle of a brilliant insight about how to frame a legal position or distinguish a case and once the interruption was over, I found it difficult to reconstruct exactly how I was going to make the argument.

Even though I was able to shut my door and give "do not disturb" instructions to my staff, it never failed that those were the days when one of the judges would "drop by" just wanting to chat. :o And none of my staff was willing to tell a Superior Court judge, sorry, but no, he can't see you!

Unless it is a "cultural" thing, I'm surprised that a remote-working friendly law firm would require more than one day a week in the office for an appellate attorney. I know a few appellate attorneys who probably don't go into the office more than once or twice a month absent some unusual need for in-person collaboration. But, their work product is top notch and their productivity very well-established.

Good luck in the new position.
Thanks very much. Excited to get started. I think my new boss, who is a family friend (just to put one more feather in my cap of positive expectations for the work-life balance at this job), was simply being professional by stating, "We let every attorney (trial or appellate) take at least one day from home, but we are always flexible, especially with our appellate attorneys," during our preliminary interviews. I get that an employer does not want to lead with, "We don't care where you are." I think it makes more sense for the employer to require presence until it's clear the employee can handle the workload. Throughout the interview process I was upfront about wife's resistance to move closer to the job, and the boss emphasized a culture of flexibility as an accommodation. Most convincing, however, are the on-the-ground appellate attorneys I've spoken with at the office, who put it much more bluntly: "We come in 1. when we want to, or 2. If we need a translator for a phone call." No doubt, the orientation period is going to be rough, though.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
mnnice
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by mnnice »

You might be a good candidate for looking on lease trader or something similar and picking up the last six months of a lease for cheap (I suspect there are people with cars they leased to drive to jobs they no longer have).

You could drive it and if you didn’t like it turn it in at the end. If you were a fan of the car buy it out.
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galawdawg
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by galawdawg »

If the current appellate attorneys only go in to the office one or two days per week, I am even more convinced that it would be a good idea to hold off on a vehicle purchase and either rent one for a few months or as mnnice suggested, look at assuming the remaining few months on a vehicle lease. Then during your orientation, take the train for a few weeks and drive for a few weeks and see how things go on different days of the week and times of the day.

Once you are settled in and have a better handle on how often you'll actually be going in to the office, you'll have a much better idea on whether "car or train" is best for you after experiencing the commute in both.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by JediMisty »

runner3081 wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:55 am
02nz wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
whereskyle wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 9:41 am Miami Metro Area. The drive will be frustrating, and thus my default was to take the train. But now that I'm seeing I likely won't save time or money, I'm willing to endure the drive a few times per week. I only wish Rick Ferri would make Bogleheads podcasts more than once a month!
To me this would be a no-brainer in favor of the train, even if it cost more. Spending 1.5 hours in traffic is so much more stressful (to me) than 1.5 hours listening to music, reading, or getting some work done on the train (emails, etc.).
I used to agree and even with parking in a downtown location, would switch it up and ride the bus when I lived in Seattle.

Now, in the new post-COVID world, not sure mass transit is something I would entertain.
Years ago, a friend had to stop taking the train after months of catching colds. I'd avoid a train or bus, if possible.
MSO4PRN
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by MSO4PRN »

how many homeless/schizophrenic on the train?
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beyou
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by beyou »

mnnice wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 2:08 pm You might be a good candidate for looking on lease trader or something similar and picking up the last six months of a lease for cheap (I suspect there are people with cars they leased to drive to jobs they no longer have).

You could drive it and if you didn’t like it turn it in at the end. If you were a fan of the car buy it out.
I like that idea.

1) Initially I would drive until covid situation improves.
2) Eventually WFH and train will be realistic options.
3) Newer car is useful temporarily for long drives. Later if you take train, an older car is fine for parking at train station (or get rid of lease if you can get ride to station).

I took train daily for a similar commute and would never have considered driving before covid. But this can be location specific, I am not in Miami. Our trains ran frequently before covid and were pretty reliable. Parking would have been expensive and my time resting or otherwise on train was highly valuable to me. Post covid, not looking forward to office as I do not want to drive and nervous to take train until we have a vaccine. Also note that when we re-open, many will drive instead of train, probably making traffic worse than normal.
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Re: Car or Train? Plus, Used Car (Make/Model/Year) Recommendations for Long Commute

Post by mmmodem »

I used to drive 1-1.5 hours one way to work. I bought a $5000 Prius to go to work. Cost had nothing to do with my decision to buy a car. It only affected my decision to buy a Prius instead of a different vehicle. The Prius was the lowest cost not just due to fuel but in maintenance, repairs, and insurance. It trumped the Civic and Corolla I had previously for the same commute. It was also more comfortable being a larger car with more immediately options like a backup camera and BT.

Public transportation would have exceeded 3 hours one way. If it was 1.5 hours, I would have chosen public transportation. I can do other things waiting in a train. Driving literally adds 3 hours to my daily mental fatigue. Look into whether your job provides commuter benefits. It would have cut off half the price for the metropass for me. I would be nervous about Covid-19 but as another poster already said, driving also poses additional risks. You'll have to weigh a safer accident wise commute versus a more dangerous health wise commute.
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