Taking public transportation and other ways of ride sharing are great ways to lower your carbon footprint.
MBTA Commuter Rail
Concord has two stations, one in West Concord and one on Thoreau St, which makes it convenient to get on a train to go into town. You can not only save energy, you can give yourself some time to work, read or just relax while you are on your way. WiFi is available on all trains. You can even ride a bike to the train station to get some exercise on your way to work. If you want to bring your bike on the train, folding bicycles are allowed at any time; standard bicycles are allowed at non-peak times. The MBTA Commuter Rail offers 17 trips each way to and from North Station on weekdays. While a monthly pass from Concord to Boston costs $291.50 and seems pricey (one-way trip costs $9.50) it is less expensive than driving when to you consider the full cost of running a car, which is estimated to be 54 cents/mile (2016 IRS reimbursement rates). At this rate, the 40-mile round trip from Thoreau St to North Station five days per week would cost $432/month. And parking a car at the station or in Crosby’s lot costs much, much less than commercial parking in Cambridge or Boston. Concord residents can purchase a 6-month placard for $40; daily parking costs $4.00/day.
Another alternative is to ride a bus into Boston, which may be more convenient if you work in the vicinity of Copley Square. The Yankee Line bus service offers two trips inbound in the morning and two outbound in the afternoon. A 10-ride pass for travel to Concord costs $92; a one-way trip costs $12. The bus starts in Acton and stops at Crosby’s to pick up passengers in Concord, and then has no further stops until it reaches its destination.
Share a ride
Carpooling makes sense if there is no public transit available from your home to work, you commute during times when public transit is not available, or you have a health condition that means you cannot take public transit. Finding someone to share a ride with has become much easier with online services like NuRide whose website allows you to find people who live near you and commute to the same area as you. Alternatively, you can post your route or find someone else already going that way on vRide.
CrossTown Connect is a transportation management association (TMA) that is currently operating in neighboring towns and will soon be coming to Concord. Its goals include maximizing mobility within and access to the community by coordinating a network of local transportation resources to effectively move people and to make the most efficient use of nearby public transportation services. Current services in Acton include a fixed-route bus service, shuttle buses that connect with commuter rail service, and local on-demand van rides for people over age 60 or with a qualified disability. CrossTown Connect also offers rides home for those who sign up for carpooling and need to get home in an emergency.
Flying is the most energy-intensive form of transportation. Teleconference if you can. Use a bus or a train if that is reasonable. Alternatively, buy carbon offsets to help neutralize the carbon foot print related to your flight. Of course, buying carbon offsets does not actually reduce your carbon emissions but they may go towards construction of renewable energy projects and thus reduce future emissions. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club have helpful descriptions that will help you understand carbon offsets and what to look for when you buy them.