My car was damaged by a quickie oil change facility: they cracked the oil pan, and I noticed the leak last Saturday at the farmers market. I immediately took the car back to the shop, and because it was clearly their fault, the business has agreed to install a new oil pan free of charge. I was actually surprised not to have to fight harder; I guess customer service is not entirely dead. The whole process is dragging out, though, because they have to get the check to purchase the oil pan from a regional district manager, and then order the part, and then wait for it to come in. The latest update suggests the part will arrive Saturday, and will be installed for me on Sunday.
Despite the protestations of the automotive staff that my leak was no big deal, and it would be fine to drive as long as I keep adding a quart of oil every other day (they even gave me a few quarts), I haven't been driving the car. I don't want to be spewing oil all over the city -- that stuff is nasty. I am not too happy having the oil pool up in my driveway either. I talked my way into some absorbent pads that I have placed under the car, and that helps, but it is still icky. Does anyone have any tips for how to safely clean the film off the driveway once my car stops leaking? Because there is still a bit of a sheen under the pads.
But the bus... I have been riding the city bus to and from work the last few days, and I am loving it. The stop is right around the corner from my house, and I get off one block from the office. It takes 20-25 minutes each way, slightly longer than it would were I to drive myself, but it is so much more interesting. The overheard conversations, the sociological observations, the stimulating sights, sounds, and smells. It is truly fabulous! I am so glad for this opportunity to find out how accessible and convenient the bus routes are in this neighborhood.
Although I will definitely use the bus more often even after my car repairs are complete, especially in bad weather, I may not continue to use it every day. The sad truth is the bus is more expensive for me than driving. At 2.9 miles from my driveway to the fifth floor of the parking garage, my roundtrip commute is just under 6.0 miles per day, or 30 miles per week. Using round numbers again for simplicity, my car gets about 30 mpg. This means I use approximately 1 gallon of gas per week for my roundtrip commute, a cost of about $4. Riding the bus is $1 each way, so my total expenses for a week of commuting would be $10.
Of course there is the hidden cost of wear and tear on the vehicle, extra maintenance costs and such. However, I can't see those expenses equating to $6 for 30 miles. Part of the discrepancy comes because my employer covers my parking expenses, providing us each with an entry card to a covered parking garage, a value of $90-100 per month. If I had to pay that myself, the bus would certainly be more economical. The bus service offers weekly and monthly passes, but at $10/week or $40/month, it doesn't save riders any money unless we ride more often than just commuting.
Now of course I must solve the dilemma: be cheap and drive my car, or be green and take the public transport? So many choices.