Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here's the thing about cars.

I hate them.....HATE. I hate that I have to rely on a hunk a junk, shrink my wallet, piece of soul stealing...well, steel!
Long story husband and I moved away from the self sufficient, EL and bike riding city for a job in the "burbs". We thought "Hey, change of scenery, closer to parts of our family, better money, more time to figure out our lives, better place to raise a family, better place to "grow up".
What we got was cars.
Expensive, greedy, broken down on the side of the road cars. I have put at the very least TRIPLE the amount of money into my car than I actually paid for it. TRIPLE people.
What does that break down to? Close to $5000...and that does NOT include gas.
It also does not include the stress involved with worrying about what is going to go wrong with your car at any given moment and being a city, you miss a bus or a train? Usually there is one right behind it.
I'm about to make a very bold statement.
In a million lifetimes, I NEVER want to own another car again...EVER!
Really and truly, I don't see the point. They cost too much money, they're bad for the environment and dammit we could all use a little bit of exercise!
I lived in a city, a great city, where the public transportation, I believe, is one of the best in the world. At any given moment I could get to any part of the city I wanted by train, bus, bike or foot. Yes, there were frustrating moments of being stuck underground (longest I ever got stuck was 45 the 3 hour commute my husband can have if the traffic is bad) and I guess if you HAVE to get somewhere...I mean REALLY fast a car can be a good thing. But I truly believe that I could live a life without owning a car....and I will....(live that life...not own another car).
Here's what it breaks down to.
A CTA (Chicago public transportation) day pass (that's UNLIMITED rides for 24 hours) is $5.75...which is about $2100 a year. A 7 day pass (unlimited for 7 days..see you're getting the idea) is $23 or about $1200 a year. And yes they even sell a 30 day pass for $86, with fingers crossed that you don't lose it that's only $1032 a year.
Now ask yourself what you spend in gas per year....just gas.
But Sara, what about when you have children? What about major grocery shopping? What am I, an invalid? I once had a woman in a dog park say that to me....not that I'm an invalid but that you can't have children in a city....WHAT???? I would KILL to raise my kids in a well rounded, culturally diverse city where they can learn to take a bus and a train and ride their bikes places.
And do you know how many people move out of the way when a pregnant woman/mother with a stroller/parents with little kids get on public transport?......all of them!
That's what people don't seem to get when they haven't been exposed to a city that relies on public transportation. Everyone uses it! Not just the bums or the people that can't afford a car. People can actually be kind and courteous on the bus....yes, they can.
I know what you're saying...But'll still be relying on a huge piece of steel. The difference is...for the most part this hunk of steel is reliable and I don't have to pay $1700 out of pocket the day it decides to break down right outside the beltway!
Oh and p.s. before we left Chicago I was riding my bike to and from know what I was paying for that...a whole lot of nothing!
My long winded point being. While I love living close to family and I love my friends here and really Annapolis is pretty cool, I like having a car be a luxury in my life...not a necessity.
At this moment I could happily live my life relying on the lovely men and women of the CTA, my little yellow Madwagon beach cruiser bike and the occasional taxi cab.