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Old 04-05-2007, 03:56 PM
4 posts, read 20,026 times
Reputation: 10


Hi, everyone! My wife and I will both start attending PhD programs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Rutgers University in New Brunswick this fall. Currently we live in San Francisco and we are not familiar with the mid-Atlantic part of the East Coast. A few friends suggested living in Philly and commuting two or three times per week to our respective campuses.We looked at a number of websites with regard to different transportation options in the area and whereas Amtrak undoubtedly offers the most convenient one, it is far from affordable($ 950 for a monthly pass from Philly to Baltimore is outrageous!) ...It seems that it will be easier and cheaper for my wife to get to Rutgers via the River Line or regional transit to NJ. However, the only more promising option to Baltimore seem to be the Chinatown buses or driving and everyone i've spoken to has been discouraging me from the latter!
I would greatly appreciate any feedback and thoughts on making this or a similar arrangement work. We are very flexible and not necessarily set on living in Philly...Perhaps it might make more sense to live closer to one of the campuses and for only one of us to bear the burden of the commute..
Thanks a lot!
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Old 04-05-2007, 04:45 PM
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I've seen a similiar thread in another state's forum. One person made the point that by living in the middle of two distant commuting points, both partners would suffer from the emotional and physical wear and tear. The poster suggested that it might be better to choose to live in the location convenient to one person and have the other deal with the commute. Since you are comfortable commuting to New Brunswick or Baltimore by train, this might work out better. Not that I would discourage you from moving to Philly... but I sense that you might resent that decision eventually.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:12 PM
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Philly to Baltimore is a pretty bad drive. The tolls on I-95 are high too. But driving might be the best option if you're going to keep a car and want something a little cheaper than Amtrak.

If I were in this situation, I'd explore getting a cheap room subletted in somebody's house in New Brunswick and Baltimore for when you don't feel like making the long trip back home to Philly. Check craigslist listings under rooms and sublets. Then maybe look to live in University City near 30th Street so your wife can take the SEPTA train from there to Trenton and transfer to NJTransit to New Brunswick. I think that'd be more convenient than doing PATCO to RiverLINE to NJTransit rail.

The Chinatown buses are a good deal, but I don't know if I'd rely on them for daily commuting since they're sometimes cramped, dirty, and not always reliable. Also, you'd have to worry about getting from where they drop you off to JHU campus-- I'm assuming you're at the main campus and not downtown.
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Old 04-07-2007, 05:59 PM
4 posts, read 20,026 times
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Thanks everyone! Your posts will certainly make us reconsider driving as an option, especially in terms of going to Baltimore! We are really set on making this difficult situation work and I really appreciate your feedback!
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