What's the best way to get there?
Take note that my wife has a monthly public transit pass. So half of us can technically get to the airport for free.
The cost of public transit for me is $3. But what's the real cost?
Dragging our luggage for 5 minutes along the sidewalk pavement to the bus stop in what's going to feel like -5 degrees Celsius. Then waiting for the bus in the cold for a couple of minutes. Paying $3 to board the bus to the subway station, 5 minutes. Taking two elevators down to the subway platform, which is heated. Thank goodness! And sitting on the subway hugging our luggage to the last station for 37 minutes. Then we need to take an escalator to the bus platform where we can wait for an Airport Bus which will take us to the airport in 20 minutes.
Honestly, I was already convinced otherwise after checking the temperature is dropping to -5 degrees Celsius.
Total trip time: ~1 hour 15 minutes
Total cost: $3 ($6 if you pretend my wife doesn't have a monthly pass)
Comfort level (0-10): 5
The cost of Uber for us is about $45.
We are picked up at our front door. There is no dragging of luggage (and additional wear and tear on the wheels) in the cold. And the drive is about 40 minutes direct to the airport. No switching modes of transport, no suffering in the whitewalker cold.
Total trip time: 40 minutes
Total cost: $45
Comfort level (0-10): 10
We have a couple of options for the Airport Express.
1. Take the same bus route to the subway station. Then take the subway halfway to the end and switch to the Airport Express Train.
Option 1 still has to suffer walking in the cold. We still have to pay $3 for public transit. And we have to pay an additional $5 each ($10 total) for the Airport Express Train, but it's more comfortable and 15 minutes faster.
Total trip time: ~1 hour
Total cost: $13 ($16 if you pretend my wife doesn't have a monthly pass)
Comfort level (0-10): 7
2. Take an Uber to the Airport Express Train station and take the train the rest of the way to the airport.
Option 2 gets the best of Uber with the front door pick up. But the cost is $30. We still have to pay $5 each for the Airport Express Train, and its about the same amount of time as Option 1.
Total trip time: ~1 hour
Total cost: $40
Comfort level (0-10): 9
Worth it or Not
The Airport Express Train really doesn't seem like a worth it option considering our proximity to the nearest train station.
At the lower end of the cost curve we have pure public transit, the comfort level is not great and we risk our luggage taking a beating. New luggage cost over $350 for a set and maybe lasts 5-10 trips depending on how you abuse them. That's a difference of $35 to $70 per use.
Paying for an Uber will cost me $45, but could extend the life of my luggage by $35. Then the net cost of transportation is $10 plus I get the maximum comfort in getting to the airport. Even if we get our luggage at 50% off, I still think its worth it to take an Uber all the way.
If you can afford to travel and it's only once or twice a year, paying a little extra to make your life easier shouldn't be a big deal. Mind you, if this was the peak of summer, we may consider the public transit route despite the luggage wear and tear. The cold really doesn't jive with us.
Now to convince my wife...
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.