Better Commute, More Time for Us

While his research takes him abroad, seen here in the Alps, when he is at Stanford, Patrick Hunt finds that carpooling provides much-needed time — and Commute Club rewards are just a bonus.

Why are 8,000 Stanford faculty, staff, and students members of the Commute Club? Patrick Hunt shares his story about the tangible and intangible benefits he discovered first-hand.

Dear Stanford Commute Club,

Thanks for the Commute Club incentives and even more the philosophical mindset. After almost fourteen years of paying hundreds of dollars for an annual parking permit (mostly “A” permits), my wife and I began carpooling together instead of driving separate cars. She works in both the South Bay and East Bay after dropping me off at Stanford.

Eventually, my wife sold her car and I sold mine. These were cars we really loved, but which were soon sitting in the driveway gathering dust most of the week after we discovered how much more we valued the time together than the nice cars.

Of course, it was also an environmental, energy and unrenewable resource issue, especially with our 25-mile one-way commute! More importantly, it was a practical conclusion to our need to spend more time together. Even if it is not the most romantic of times, carpooling is a great way to keep time together.

Now, while wiser, I also feel a little guilty joining the Commute Club and receiving perks, because our time together has become so important we can't see why we didn't come around sooner, having wasted so much time sitting in gridlock traffic by ourselves as well as a lot of fossil fuel, insurance and income on what may well become an energy frivolity in future years.

How can one weigh the rewards?

Humbled but happier,

Patrick Hunt

Dr. Hunt is a lecturer in Stanford Continuing Studies and the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He has been teaching humanities, archaeology, and the arts at Stanford for 20 years.

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