Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Odd weighings

One of the things I can't get over is how hard it is to evaluate travel in/around NYC and accomodations. The issue is that my currently-preferred means of transportation (MegaBus) is so time-expensive/discomfort-expensive and money-cheap. At $10 and two hours, it's cheaper for me to MegaBus to-and-from NYC in the same day (4 hours on a bus, ugh) than it is to stay in even the cheapest hotel in the city.

Of course, my rent commitment in PHL (and my trainpass there) are what's really the inefficient things that make this whole weird equation work as-it-does. Still, Megabus makes this all feel like a degenerate case that forces me to really think about how much my time and discomfort are worth.

I wonder if there are many people who use MegaBus (or some other, usually trans-Chinatown bus) for a painful commute every day. I'd guess this is why Japan has tube hotels (the SUN BRIGHT HOTEL is a lot like one of those, but not quite that extreme).

On that topic, occasionally when I've helped people learn to think about the dynamics of a problem (whether it's how to optimise a certain kind of thing or political philosophy), I present made-up degenerate cases that challenge their natural intuitions; if a certain class of decisions have unpredictability that needs to be factored into the average results but that risk is normally moderately small, let's find a case where the cost of that risk is extraordinarily high, or the risk is actually much higher, and be forced to complexify our mental model of the whole thing. The existence of really-cheap highly-uncomfortable slow transit between American cities is just another example of nature providing that kind of thing to me.


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