Everyone in the DC metropolitan area is aware that if your commute is 15 minutes during non rush hour, it will actually take you anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour in rush hour traffic. Sun glare, rubber necking, traffic accidents and construction can also add additional time to your commute. The Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation reported that commuters in the area lost an average of 70 hours in traffic congestion in 2009. So does that mean “traffic” is an acceptable excuse to be late for work?
Unless the pile up on 95 makes the 6:00 news, or three of your colleagues that travel from the same direction are also late due to traffic, your tardiness will be noted. If you happen to work in an office where you’ve been given the option of flexible scheduling and your supervisor has asked that you revisit your start time, you are being clocked. Because traffic congestion is a well known fact of life in the DC metropolitan area, it is expected that you anticipate the delay and plan accordingly.
There are three ways to help ensure that you arrive at work on time:
Car Pool – Not only do you save on money and ride in the HOV lane, you also have the opportunity to network with other professionals. You can start your search for a carpool at: http://www.commuterpage.com/links/linkcarpool.htm.
Take the Metro – So you give up some of your freedom, the company may subsidize your travel expenses. It’s like getting paid to travel to work! Check out the Trip Planner on www.wmata.com.
Leave Earlier – To beat the traffic, if you’re scheduled to work between 7:30-8 you want to be on the road at 6 if you’re travelling from beyond Centreville into Washington, DC. From Centreville toward the District, you can leave your residence a half hour later. Getting to work early will allow you to leave earlier in the evenings and beat the evening traffic.
If none of the aforementioned solutions will work for you and you find that you will be late, make sure you call your supervisor before your start time. Enjoy your commute!