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.

21 December 2011

Owning a Choice

As I've shared many, many times before, we are car-free at the Cheeky house. We made this decision when we moved to Austin in July 2010, deciding to rely on the local public transportation and cycling. Since then, we've also added a local carsharing scheme to our repertoire, and we've taken a taxi or two in the past 18 months. Apart from the occasional snafu (usually the reason for the taxi) or having to turn down an invitation every now and then, it works.

Yep, this is where I live. Source.
Sometimes, though, it doesn't work. Sometimes we get an invite to a Christmas party with people we really enjoy hanging out with but they live out of reach of the bus system. Sometimes we forget to buy Chad a new bus pass and have to scrounge for change when we get on board. Sometimes we'd just like to go downtown on a Sunday evening but dangit, the buses stop running at 9:30 PM. And sometimes we just like getting home from church in a timely manner without having to wait 30 minutes for a bus.

A lot of times, people will offer us a lift to or from wherever we're going. A lot of times, we accept. Every now and then we'll outright ask for a lift. But I don't like doing that, because being car-free was our choice. It wasn't forced upon us. And I don't feel like we have the right to allow our lifestyle choices to become a burden on other people. Besides, I feel that as an advocate for non-car alternatives, I shouldn't be turning to car-owning friends every five minutes and asking for a bailout. I can hardly say that I'm living without a car just fine when I'm not.

And there's that little detail that for the majority of the country, choosing whether to have a car or not is not even on the radar screen. There's the group that can't possibly afford a car, no matter what, and have to get around however they can. Then there's the group that lives or works in areas where there are no alternatives to car ownership. And some fit into both categories, which is even more a cause for concern. And that's one reason why I advocate for alternatives to car ownership in this country: We shouldn't be forced into one default mode. We should have choices. And no one should have to feel that their choices or circumstances make them a burden on others.

Do you ever take car-free trips? Is it even feasible for you?


Anonymous said...

I'm too crippled up to ride bikes or walk to the bus stop...I wish I could.

Liz said...

I live in Southern California, so that living car-free is not feasible. (I wish it was. I just had to have a major repair so my car would pass its smog check, and... It was a mess.)

Rebecca Bany said...

That is amazing. I live in an area where nothing is near us nor do we have any public transportation. But good for you. That's awesome!

Timbra said...

we did live car-free in Fiji and we would have remained that way, with constant and reliable public transportation and ability to live in close proximity to places we needed to be. . . but here we are at least only a one-car family, for FIVE years now (saturday marked five years). . . .mike walks most places he needs to be, so I'm the car driver 95% of the time.

The Golden Eagle said...

We live in a rural area/food desert, so a car is necessary just to get a lot of basic things; for a while when the car wasn't running we had to take a bus but it was unpredictable and took hours.

Jenna Cooper said...

I'm living off of a bus pass in college, and right now for me it's good. I'm not spending money on gas or insurance, but saving up for next semester's tuition. However, it is annoying when the bus stops running or it doesn't go where I want.

Karen Peterson said...

I lived in Montreal for 6 months and relied on buses and metros (and the occasional ride from a kind friend) to get around and it was always great. I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that I would be very happy living somewhere that a car is unnecessary.

Southern California is not that somewhere.

Su said...

Wow, these are all such great responses I don't even know where to start! Thanks, everybody, for reading and sharing!