The car-less debacle

How do they do it? My top 2 questions when I first moved to Vancouver from a car-filled urban centre (Toronto) were:

  1. How can you survive without a car?
  2. Why don’t you people use umbrellas when it rains? (Seriously, 5 years later and I still don’t understand this phenomenon)

Ode to my car (someone else’s ride now)

It’s been 2 months, 1 week, 3 days, 7 hours and 24 minutes since I saw you last.

I miss you. Do you miss me?

You were my evening retreat and my weekend getaway. You got me to the gym in the mornings and to parties @ night. Your black leather seats, electronically controlled, heated our rears when it was cold and chilled those behinds in the heat of summer. You were automatic everything and I could control you, and thus my universe, with just one touch. Even now I get a little teary eyed just thinking about your 6-CD changer and high bass sub woofers.  You were such a delight.

One day, my car baby (I named him Charles), might find me and ask: Why did you give me up?

What I expected: An increase in monthly savings ($500+), and a decreased waistline from having to walk a lot more.

What I got: An increase in taxicab use and a subsequent decrease in cash flow. Sorry Charles. Hope your new mommy maintains you more often. I think we were both pretty sick of those ‘check oil’ reminders. If only we knew what they were trying to tell us.

Plus, now is as good a time as any to take public transit due to all the Olympic related road closures, removal of street parking and limited street access on main streets. Right now, public transportation IS the way to go and people are actually using it. Locally, transit use has increased to the point that earlier this month, many fare dealers ran out of monthly bus passes.

Been there, done that ('04)

All restocked now but don’t you just hate it when your dealer runs out of stock? heh heh

Back to the debate!  To car or to bus:

Pros to bus, Nay to car:

  • Save $$$ on gas
  • No more insurance payments
  • No more parking tickets (damn them and their ‘rules’. I park where I want!)
  • Halt the speeding tickets (I get so many it may as well be a fixed cost)
  • Free up those car payments for much needed shoe purchases
  • No need to spend money on car maintenance
  • More walking = better health
  • Public transit is always cheaper than a car
  • No need to find parking or rent parking spots
  • Your friends/loved ones get to drive YOU around
  • No need to have a shiny, new, pretty car

Cons to bus, Yay to car:

  • As a former friend/loved one, driving your ass around all the time is annoying
  • Cars get you where you want to go and fast! (Sometimes too fast. Sorry officer, I’ll slow down)
  • Some places are hard/impossible to get to unless you have a car
  • My car acted like my extended closet: Blankets, sports equipment (some damaged), jackets, shoes, water bottles, spare deodorant, make-up bag, etc. Where am I supposed to keep my string-less badminton racquets now?
  • Lose your house, sleep in your car
  • Yay to shiny new pretty cars!

However, I have heard some complaints about public transit from friends about getting inappropriate looks, and strange encounters with male passengers who were ‘’accidentally’ too hands on.  I was shocked to hear this and I’m trying to get them to let me know which routes, which buses/trains and what times during the day these incidences took place. I’m not going to report it or anything; I’m just hoping to get in on this action. All this time I’ve been riding on the wrong routes.

FEBRUARY STATUS REPORT

2 months, 1 week, 3 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes later and how am I doing?

I miss Charles!

Oh Squeaky! 220,000km+ later. R.I.P. ('99 - '04)

Since the age of 15 I’ve always had a car at my disposal. From sharing (taking) my parents’ cars to inheriting an old auto that survived for years on its will to live; I’ve always been with car. This equates to over 10 years of car-having love. To give it up was hard and to be without one even harder. Technically, even if I had one now, it would spend most of its time parked at my house but I just liked having one. A big, shiny new paperweight the size of a car and for the low, low price of a paperweight made out of expensive car parts. Sigh.

Before: driving like a fiend. Doing what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it; numerous trips to big box stores like Costco, Walmart and Zellers; shopping excursions to the States and doing donuts in vacant parking lots.

Also, if I had a late night or early morning craving, I could simply drive myself there to satisfy that craving (insert craving here). Now just the thought of having to walk or bus to fulfill the craving makes me crave something in my house instead (peanut butter and hot pepper sandwiches it is!)

After: borrowing friends’ cars and doing the above on weekends only. Cravings now come to me. I’ve now learned that for the right price, people will deliver anything (basketballs, chocolate or tacos anyone?).

But chin up I say. I’ll get over it. After all, it’s only been 2 months, 1 week, 3 days, 8 hours and 45 minutes. Although, I do think the first step on the road to recovery might be to stop counting the days since I had a car. In honour of that: 5 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 4 hours and 15 minutes will be the new number. What’s this new number you ask?

The countdown to my new car purchase.  😉

Oooo baby, don’t you look good. Looking for a rider? wink, wink

A look to the future:

Driverless cars – Just like it sounds, this car would be automated and can pick up and drop off passengers from one point to another without assistance from a driver.

Some believe that autonomous vehicles have the potential to transform the transportation industry while virtually eliminating accidents, and cleaning up the environment.

Cars that drive themselves — even parking at their destination — could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say. (by 2018)

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/driverless-car.htm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22529906/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driverless_car

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