What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

25 May 2011

Getting Around

I'm fortunate enough to live in a city where car-free life, while not yet the norm, is not quite the freakish deviation that it can be in some places; larger cities in the U.S. seem to be finally shifting away from the "You WHAT?" reaction to voluntary car-lessness. The car-free lifestyle is gaining some traction as a valid option, rather than the badge of poverty or senior citizenhood that it once was (and still is, to some).

And for that, we have some help. If we had to rely solely on the bus or walking to get everywhere we wanted to go, I admit that I would be pretty discouraged at this point. We live far enough out from the city center that the bus commute, even with the most lively of companions, can be a drag. Fortunately, those are not our only options, since we have bicycles and a car2go membership.

Carsharing, such as car2go or Zipcar or whatever your local option is, really opens up car-free living. It expands the distance that the user can go and is also perfect for times when cycling or public transportation aren't really an option. For instance, I'm taking a car2go to a job interview this afternoon, with the plan to bus/cycle there as a regular thing if I get the job. Or, it can just be a welcome sight for tired feet: On Saturday, after running on the local hike & bike trail and then walking to lunch, Chad and I were headed for a bus when we spied an available car2go. Result!

So, this wasn't actually meant to be an advert. But, if carsharing is locally available, it might be something to consider if you'd like to live car-free or even just car-light.

Have you ever tried carsharing? Is it available to you?


Anonymous said...

An interesting concept. Who owns the car, who insures the car, what procedure is in place to ensure the person using the car is properly insured and licenced? Who repairs the car, who do you call if you have a breakdown, does someone ensure it meets emissions guidelines and isn't contributing to pollution? So many questions.......

Cherie Reich said...

That carsharing idea is pretty nifty. I don't know if it would work for me, though, since I live 15 miles from anything...25 miles from work, etc. It'd be difficult, but I can see it working well for people who live closer to civilization.

Misha said...

Actually, public transport of any persuasion is a bit lacking in my country, although our larger cities are starting to bring it out now. We still need cars though.


Su said...

@mybabyjohn: Oh, my. Well, the company does the owning, insuring, repairing, standards-meeting, etc. All the insurance, repairs, petrol, and whatnot are included in the membership + rental fee. And you do have to be a member to use the cars; before a membership is approved, car2go checks the potential member's driving record and all that good stuff. As far as breakdowns or accidents, there's a nifty little "what to do" packet inside the car with the appropriate phone numbers. It really is pretty well hedged round-- after all, the company is in place to make money! ;)

@Cheri: My parents live far from civilization, too. I think I might go stir crazy if I tried it now, but I loved it when I was a kid! But yeah, there are definitely some disadvantages.

@Misha: It's always amazing for me to get the perspective of people from all over. In classic "dumb American" style, I hadn't even thought about SA not having any public transport. What's it like watching transportation develop?

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I used to live in NYC. I don't miss city life, really, but I do miss being able to walk everywhere. I now live in the middle-of-nowhere, which I love, but you have to drive for any little thing.

....Petty Witter said...

We are so lucky to have a wonderful transport system here in Newcastle though Carsharing is not an option unless you happen to be at the university where I am told it is very popular.

Su said...

@Susanna: Some days these trade-offs really get me down!

@Petty: Ooh, I used the Newcastle transport system once! Been a while ago, though. Our university also has a carsharing system, but I'm not a member of that network.

Mia Hayson said...

Mmmm, carsharing. That does sound interesting. Like Petty, I think I'm lucky to live in a very student orientated city so walking and public transport is very much a norm for everybody.


Su said...

I know I'd give up carsharing AND my bicycle (if necessary!) to move back to Scotland in a heartbeat!