Working full-time and commuting in a big city is hard. The reason my husband and I moved to Ottawa was that we knew we couldn't face the Toronto commute for the rest of our lives. I'd visited Ottawa several times, and was amazed at how fast I could get downtown on the bus. So it made sense that once we moved here, I would take the bus to get to work from the (many) apartments we rented around the city.
Add two kids into the mix, and fast forward 9 years. We're living in a lovely home in Orleans, and despite my occasional lusting after "city life," we know that there's no way of moving out of the suburbs on one income. Plus, we love Queenswood Heights - an older neighbourhood with great schools, lots of green space, and a huge backyard for our huge vegetable garden.
Yesterday, when I took the #95 bus home, I realized that my ideal suburban life is looking bleak for the next three years. For those of you reading this from outside Ottawa, we are now in the process of building our first light rail line. Which means that the quick and easy Transitway (which carried buses from the suburbs to downtown in record time) is now closed until 2018.
Cue the crying.
I'm sure all parents would agree with me that time is precious. My girls are growing up so fast, and I want to be there for every moment. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately - I guess I'd rather not live as a cave woman and die at the ripe old age of 35), I live in the 21st century, and I have to make money to house, clothe and feed my family. And now that my commute has almost doubled in length, it means I have less time to spend with my kids. I get home on time for dinner, and then it's a hectic evening of walking the dog, cleaning the kitchen, bathing the kids and getting them to bed by 7:30 p.m.
I'm not writing this to bash OCTranspo or complain about light rail. In fact, I'm totally pumped that the city finally got its act together to make sustainable transportation a reality.
I'm writing this because I'd like to hear about YOUR commute. I don't work downtown, so the new express buses that bypass all of the mess is not an option for me. I have to transfer at Hurdman (side note: I'm also a cyclist, but I generally don't do the return commute, as 25 kms is a long enough ride for one day! So, I like to throw my bike on the bus and head home. And come October or November, cycling will no longer be an option.)
So leave me a message...tell me how you're going to get through the next 3 years. Have you found any shortcuts? Have any tips? Or have you abandoned the bus altogether and gone back to your car?
The Disgruntled Commuter