Well the hike is official–as of Sunday, a bunch of DC Metro rates have gone up. Interestingly, one that hasn’t been affected is the bus rate if you’re using a SmarTrip card. Otherwise it’s up by 10 cents to $1.35 (or to $0.45 with a transfer). I guess this will affect travelers more than it will DC natives.
My job offers pre-tax deductions from my paycheck (kinda like the 401(k), which I’m not eligible for) in MetroChecks which can be used to fund my SmarTrip for my metro commute. So now I need to figure out how much to have taken out every month to cover my traveling expenses.
Weekdays, I get to ride the hospital’s shuttle bus from the metro to work and Micah drops me at our metro. I can use the shuttle back to the metro and Micah may pick me up (or I bus home) from our station.
I’m at the hospital 2 weekdays a week on average (weekends I drive…the waits are so long and I have to go straight to the library by 10am), but sometimes I pick up an extra shift.
My fare there is $1.95 because it’s rush hour, but coming back it’s only $1.35. So that’s $3.30 each day I use the metro. For my 8 or so scheduled work weekdays per month, that’s $26.40. Let’s assume I pick up two extra shifts each month. $33 even.
Now sometimes I take the bus home from the metro, which is still $0.35 with SmarTrip. So maybe 4 a month coming to $1.40. (Total so far is $34.40.)
Add in a 4 bus trips to or from the library (it’s close so most would be driving but it depends on our schedule). That comes to $39.40 per month.
I’m going to see if I can go with $25 per paycheck for $50 a month, since I occasionally take the metro other places. (I really don’t go out much.)
Now for the advantage of having it pre-tax. Let’s assume a really simple 25% of the paycheck going to tax. So if I have a $100 paycheck (again, simple), I’ll pay $25. But with this, the $25 comes out for metro then I end up paying $18.75 taxes on that $100. At least that’s how I understand it.
Either way, I’ve figured out my approximate metro needs under the new system. Yay! And with SmarTrip I can avoid bus hikes. Double yay.