From Smart to Tarc

The big red bus brigadeSo I’m thinking, and I wonder why I think we need two cars anyway. And I think how much just one year of a second car payment adds up to (enough for a trip to Europe). And I think about what I read in Affluenza:

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

And I think about why I want a Smart car. Cute and fun isn’t really a reason to spend so much money on what really amounts to just one more *thing.*

So I’ve cancelled my Smart reservation.

A little background — Brian has had a work truck for the last six years. When he recently left his job, we knew we’d be losing that free second vehicle. His old friend/former employer hasn’t made arrangements to retrieve the truck yet, but he will and we’ll be down to one car.

My natural assumption was that we have to buy another car, and I wanted a Smart, so there you have it. But like I said, I began to think. And other than both driving to work, there’s no need for two cars. So I checked the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) online trip planner last night. Brian could get to work in 65 minutes on the bus. I could get to work in 17. Well, technically I could get to within seven blocks of work. A monthly bus pass costs half what I pay for monthly parking.

So here I go with my thinking. Why wouldn’t I take the bus? We use public transportation in every city we visit in Europe. What is it about buses at home that causes us to dismiss them as a viable option? Granted they’re not as cool lumbering down Preston Hwy as the big red buses of London are cruising around Picadilly Circus, but if I wanted cool, wouldn’t I buy the Smart?

I think I’ll take a test bus jaunt this weekend, and I’ll time the walk from the bus stop to my work on foot. And I’ll keep thinking about my assumption that two people must equal two cars.

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8 responses to “From Smart to Tarc

  1. Great thoughts Dana. I feel the same way…in America we believe that more is better, when in fact we should think that the less is more! In Europe I love public transportation. If we had it here I would take it. The cost of gas right now is $3.23 a gallon and rising!

  2. Walking 7 blocks in the rain/snow/sleet might make you have second thoughts, but I definitely applaud your thought process. Why is it we feel so cool taking public transport in Europe, but don’t even consider it as an option in our own home town? Perhaps an inexpensive used car, to be kep in reserve for those rainy or snowy days might be an option???

    Let us know your thoughts once you’ve given the bus a trail period.

  3. Don’t forget about the trolley that runs through downtown. You might be able to get off your stop and hop onto the trolley, getting you closer to our building.

    If I didn’t have the schedule that I do, I would totally take the bus instead of drive. It’s really relaxing to be able to read on the way to work instead of drive.

  4. Dare to be different Dana. Actually…it’s not just about being different. It’s about taking a stand and doing something that is better for everyone including you. There’s numerous benefits to taking city transportation….including getting in some extra reading time, people watching while leaving the driving responsibility to someone else in a bigger more safe vehicle other than your own, not having to worry about getting into an accident with your car, extra exercise and enjoying the excitement of city life while walking the rest of the way to/from work and cutting back on pollution, having one less car on the highway hoping maybe that will help (in some ‘odd’ ‘miniscule’ way) to lessen the road rage statistics. Not to mention the fact that you can daydream while on the bus and tell yourself that you’re on vacation in downtown Chicago. Wait until the beautiful holiday decorations are put on display…that will make your Chicago vacation seem even more real! The negatives…well…ya just gotta roll with the punches. Walking in the rain the rest of the way to work…imagine you’re on ‘holiday’ in Venice in the middle of March and you’re walking to catch a Sunday morning Gregorian mass….while it’s snowing!!! How’s that for mind over matter!?

  5. With a little help from a friend at work I’ve found a better route. It’s only a couple blocks from work.
    Holly, you make lots of good points. And what a lovely mental image to think of if I do find myself trudging along in bad weather ;)

  6. I have recently sold my lovely Mini Cooper. Five years old, and I had it from new…. But it was our second car – my wife has her own. She gets a car allowance from her job so we’ll keep hers. I actually work at home, but occasionally – very occasionally – have to visit customers’ premises, so that was the excuse for having the Mini. And bizarrely, although Val get the car allowance, for reasons of fitness, etc, she normally prefers to get the bus part-way to work and then walk up a hill for the rest of the journey. So on most days of the last five years we have had two unused cars sat on our drive, both of which we were still paying for, having bought them on the basis that we would need both. I think there have been perhaps two days in all that time when that’s been true, and we could have worked round those days.

    It’s madness, really. If I lived in a really large city I’d try to do without one altogether.

  7. Pingback: Get off the bus « The Traveling McMahans·

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