MR. SABRI BEN-ACHOUR
For a lot of us here in D.C. where we have the second worst traffic in the country, the most grueling part of the workday can be the commute. But at least we have the consolation that eventually, somehow the nightmare will end and we will get to work. But what if work is driving? That's the topic of our weekly transportation segment, "From A to B."
MR. SABRI BEN-ACHOUR
Transportation reporter, Jim Hilgen is new to Washington and our legendary traffic. So for his "Metro Connection" debut, he checks in with some people who spend a lot of time on the road to hear how they do it.
MR. JIM HILGEN
On a gray and rainy day in Washington, Steve Pizarro is managing the office at Capitol Hill Delivery, near the Navy yard. Laid off from his job as an IT support specialist last February, Pizarro now makes his living as a courier, sometimes by bike, usually in a car.
MR. STEVE PIZARRO
You pretty much deal with gridlock in the city all day long so it's very difficult to get around in a car.
Pizarro's commute used to take him from his home in Alexandria to his job in Rockville and it wasn't long before the commute left a lot to be desired.
You know, after the first week or so of sitting in that traffic, I mean, I would literally call anybody who would listen to me to just set an ear to complain about how horrible and soul crushing the traffic was, on a daily basis.
This is how Pizarro coped with the lack of movement on the roadways, in those days.
I stopped getting on the Beltway after a while. I would work my way back to Alexandria through back roads to try to avoid the traffic. As long as I didn't have to sit in the gridlock, it seemed -- as long as the car was still moving, it seemed everything would be okay.
Today, Pizarro is still making his way around the area roadways delivering packages and enjoying it and what he views as the freedom that comes with the work. He says there's a certain type of person who gravitates toward courier work.
They're a more free spirited group, not a lot of khaki's and polo shirts running around in that group.
Pizarro says he's recently turned down several job offers in IT. So why does a guy with a tech background choose to drive for a living?
Because I wasn't happy doing that. I have a -- this is me personally, nothing to do with -- I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I've had some ideas that I'm able to get off -- that I've wanted to get off the ground, been able to work here and it's giving me the time to do it.
Pizarro sympathizes with people who slog through the daily commute and says he'd still be doing so if he had the responsibility of a family to support. But in driving for a living, there's one area he dreads having to face.
Up Wisconsin Avenue. Having to go up or down Wisconsin, for whatever reason, anytime of day, heading up from the city, from Georgetown, let's say, up to Bethesda.
If I come out of here and I say I want to go somewhere to you, where do you not want to go?
MR. DENNIS CLARK
Dulles Airport. Dulles Airport because of the 66 traffic. At 1:30 in the afternoon, it's backed up until 4 o'clock, it doesn't clear up until the HOV starts.
That's Dennis Clark sitting in his cab outside Union Station on a recent sunny morning. After a little extra thought, Clark offers more an answer to that question.
Up 270, that's twice as bad as going out 66 toward Dulles. That is the worst place, Montgomery County.
Clark proudly proclaims that he's one in a long line of D.C. cab drivers.
I'm a third generation Washington cab driver. My family came from North Carolina. My first two uncles, after they got out of World War II, they were the first cab drivers in our family. I’m a third generation. I'm seventh in the last of three generations.
While Clark says his job has plenty of financial pitfalls, it's the only life for him. As for those who grouse about their daily commute...
You don’t have much to complain about because when you get in your cubicle, you're fine. And if you don't like driving, that -- you know, that's the best place for you.
As Clark sees it, people working in offices, stores and other businesses have the luxury of being able to choose other ways to get to their jobs.
You live along the metro line, bus lines, you have alternatives. I have no alternative. I drive for a living. So I can't afford a DUI, DWI. I've lost my job. I have no alternative transportation.
Clark's not immune to the same negative feelings that daily commuters face saying that a person who drives for a living needs to love it and he does. I'm Jim Hilgen.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and international law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.