Thursday, November 6, 2014

Be a Subway Guy

Several years ago, I worked with a man who surprised me one day by sharing that he had never taken a cab in the five years he lived in NYC. I had never heard of such a thing -- doesn't everyone take a cab now and then? With a big grin, he said, “I’m a subway guy.”

This weekend my wife and I pledged to be subway gals. Naturally, we both have always walked or taken the subway to and from work and most other events, but when we met, I loved that she treated me to cabs all the time after dark. Although I tried to limit my own cab use, I'll admit that I enjoyed benefiting from her habit, and did not protest. Of course, one can only be treated so many times before she must also chip in, so after a few months of spending more on cabs than I was used to, I started suggesting the subway. It was an easy swap because I was motivated by my bank account to not waste he money. For years after, we were quite good about taking the subway home from the theatre or after a party. After all, when everyone else is also looking for a cab, the subway is often faster.

But recently the habit has started to creep back in. One of us will say, “we really should take the subway,” to which the other will reply “Nooo. Let’s just take a cab. I’ll pay.” Neither of us protest that offer very much, but the costs add up pretty quickly.

Then, one night after a really fun wedding in Brooklyn, we decided to try a new-to-New-York service called Lyft. Sadly, while the service is reportedly very good in other cities, we really should have checked the Yelp reviews first –- we were charged more than three times than what that same cab ride would normally cost. They say misery loves company, but seeing all the other people who had overpaid does not give me an ounce of enjoyment -- paying over $100 cannot be made to feel better, especially when the cab driver started the meter before we got in and went well out of our way to rack up even more than his required $79 tip.

We’re waiting to see if Lyft will adjust it, but in the meantime, this ride was certainly a wake-up call. It can be tough to know when taking a cab is the safe choice and when taking a cab is a waste of money. That night was late, but we could have walked with others for the three blocks to the subway. On another recent night we could have taken the two avenue walk to Times Square even if our feet hurt from dancing.

From here on, we're going to try to keep one another on track, and make extra use of our MetroCards. I'm excited to see how we do -- in nearly all other areas we strive to keep laziness from being something that costs us money, and now that we plan to not give in to the other's offer, I'm looking forward to our past cab money being redirected to something even more enjoyable than just a short ride.

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"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut