If you live outside of Boston but found that Boston University is offering the best evening MBA program in the area (like many of us did), you may be considering commuting to Boston. I live in New Hampshire and decided that it was worth it, even after the North Campus was closed. I was also the rare one who had a car on campus during my undergrad at BU. So naturally I have some tips to share. So here we go:
Traffic sucks. But you get used to it. I understand that everyone has a different tolerance level for traffic, and I am yet to find a person who loves it. In large cities like Boston traffic is just a fact of life. It does help that the classes are in the evening but you will be battling with the reverse commuters. So buckle up.
You thought you liked the Red Sox? Think again. Whenever there is a game, the traffic is brutal. Having Fenway Park right next to the school of your choice does not help. A quick google search will show you if there is a game tonight so you can plan accordingly. You can also find many apps that will give you the same information.
Use technology for planning. Applications like Google Maps will show you the traffic conditions. Waze will be more specific with what is going on – whether it is a car accident or construction. In any case remember that things change quickly so always give yourself some extra time.
Make sure all of your equipment is in good order. Tires, windshield wipers, washer fluid, spare tire, car jack, etc. And never go into Boston with a low fuel light on. Manage your risks.
Podcasts are your friends. They make your commute in traffic less painful and allow you to catch up on your favorite topics. I totally enjoyed Serial podcast. Give it a try or look for other recommendations with the #TryPod hashtag. Audiobooks work for some as well, as long as they don’t make you snooze.
Get an E-Zpass. If you will be driving through tolls it will save you a lot of time. And money. It is free to sign up and the first transponder is free, so you have nothing to lose.
Left lane is not always the fastest. Often times it is the right lane that moves the quickest – just watch out for the merging traffic. Sometimes left lane is the slowest due to traffic pattern or construction. Sometimes it is due to an involving phone conversation someone is having. In any case – just make sure you are not the one slowing it down. It is illegal to block the free travel in the left lane in MA and many other states.
Consider buying a dashcam. They got considerably cheaper and now you can have a second witness in your car for under a $100. I’ve used DOD LS360W for three years and it worked like a champ. If you want to research latest models this website is a good place to start. Do not buy anything below 1080P and make sure it has good night time video quality.
If you are a commuter yourself feel free to share how you keep your sanity in the process.