One of the only reasons that I could afford to move into the city and go car-less was because my work pays for my $200 monthly T-Pass. It’s definitely an awesome perk that allows me to commute for free. Otherwise, at that price, I would likely just buy a car. There’s no way I could afford to live in the city AND have a car. I would probably be stuck in Boston’s suburbia somewhere paying half the rent I am now but pouring thousands per year into a vehicle, spending less on rent but overall more because of the car.
The commuter program at work is great but it is not available to all employees. We have what you could call temporary employees who are classified as “temps” but have actually been working with us for years and years. Due to this classification, they aren’t eligible for the commuter program, even if they have been working here for a decade. It’s definitely not fair, but making those decisions is about 3x my pay grade so there’s not much I can do about it. Out of the 10 or so people who commute on the train to-from work, only one of them falls under this category. He pays the $200 out of his own pocket for a commute that takes 1.5 hours on a good day: walk-bus-train-train-bus-walk and then repeat after work. If he chose to drive it’d still take over an hour so he’s content in taking the longer commute so that he doesn’t have to deal with masshole traffic. He’s a really nice guy and we try hard not to rub in the fact that our commute is free, but there’s still clear tension between “us” and “him” when it comes to being a commuter working for the same company.
So today I decided to pay for his bus fare from work to the T. I told him it was a random act of kindness and that he should pass it on. He accepted graciously and we spent the bus ride talking about different random acts of kindness. All I had to do was beep my Charlie card twice on my way onto the bus. It was free for me to do this so it was really no big deal, but it’s not something I would have normally done so it was indeed a random act. His commute is miserable enough (let alone his job) so I’m glad I was able to make it less miserable, even if for just a few minutes.