I wouldn’t commute daily by car on Oahu if you paid me $5,000 a year!

Here’s how it pencils out: owning, insuring, gassing, parking and repairing a car costs $4,000-$10,000 per year. My annual bus pass costs me $660 a year. Once I buy the pass, every additional trip costs less and less! At 30 trips per month, each trip costs me $2. By car, each trip would cost more than $13.

Busing, walking and biking can save $4,000-$10,000 a year. Over a 35-year work life that’s $140,000 to $350,000, a decent retirement nest egg.

An artist's rendering of a section of the proposed Leeward Bikeway, which has been in development since 1977.

An artist’s rendering of a section of the proposed Leeward Bikeway, which has been in development since 1977.

Hawaii Bicycling League

When the Honolulu rail project is completed, Leeward residents can choose to go total multimodal way faster than by bus. I will ride the train to the airport and take my bike on rail to Kapolei then bike to Nanakuli on flat terrain using the beautiful Leeward multi-use path.

Choosing the best multimodal way to travel (walk, bike, bus, rail) saves time if you are creative. Biking the half mile from home to the bus stop takes three minutes instead of 10 minutes walking. Doing pushups and taichi makes the bus stop wait valuable to me. Not a time waster; a chance to stay strong.

The bus ride from home in Kailua to downtown takes 30 to 45 minutes. Yes, longer than the 25 minutes by car. But guess what? It’s all my quality personal time, to rest, read, check email, dream. No fighting traffic and endangering others while illegally multitasking by phone.

Got kids? Some of my best memories are of taking my preschool kids downtown on the bus daily, reading a favorite book together. Bonding. Walking past that dead cat for a week and observing it change from maggots to bones was a cool science lesson. And that kid is now an engineer.

From downtown I ride my bicycle 30 minutes to work in Kaimuki (and back at day’s end). It takes longer than driving or riding the bus, but I love that daily bike ride — keeps me physically healthy and mentally sharp. Who needs a gym?

I’ve learned to rethink my commute and measure it by different standards. No longer is speed/individual time convenience the main goal. Health, environmental, community and family well-being are important, too. Now I go to the airport by bus. It may take me 90 minutes, but a family driver it would take 60 minutes plus 30 of mine, so it’s equal — and we didn’t burn any gas.

Convenient multimodal transportation means more choices and opportunities to save time, our planet, boost personal health and wealth, be safer, and find innovative ways to improve life while getting around. Reboot your commute to enrich your daily life — it’s the fun and right thing to do. I’m willing to contribute to that multimodal future because it will improve mine.

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