In January we introduced you to Children’s Star Commuter program, which recognizes employees who demonstrate diligence and creativity in using transportation alternatives. This month we meet Star Commuter Richard Augastino, who has no need for four wheels… except those of a Metro bus and a Seattle Children’s shuttle.

His commitment to alternate transit led him to go carless a few years ago – and he never plans to go back to car ownership again.

“If you live in Seattle, there’s no reason to have a car,” says Richard, senior administrative assistant in the Division of Adolescent Medicine. “I’m an advocate for public transportation.”

Richard has worked at Children’s for almost six years and in that time has lived in downtown Seattle, on the Eastside in Newcastle and currently in lower Queen Anne. He says finding the best bus route is like a puzzle and he enjoys putting the pieces together.

Richard typically uses the Metro trip planner when he first begins a route, then starts investigating other busing options to chip away time off the commute. Using this method, he has discovered five different routes to get to and from work, and has also helped countless friends plan their alternate commuting.

The logic behind hopping on the bus and the hospital shuttle and no longer needing a car is straightforward for Richard… it saves money and the stress of driving in traffic.

By not owning or driving a car, he estimates he saves $275 a month on a car payment, $99 a month for car insurance, and about $140 to $160 in monthly gas costs. Richard uses that extra money for vacation expenses. “I think it’s fair to have your money you save from travel go to travel,” he says.

Riding the bus provides a perfect opportunity for Richard to unwind. He says the travel itself may not be a timesaver, but the ability to relax while in transit makes for better use of his time at home.

“There’s no stress involved; it’s so simple,” he says. “The hardest part is getting up and finding the best routes.”

Since he began his current bus route about three years ago, the bus has only broken down two times, but another bus was available within 15 minutes. He says some people might be hesitant to start riding the bus, but his secret to public transportation is easy.

“Just give yourself an extra 15 minutes,” he says. “You can do it. It’s not that hard.”

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