cars are a must where i live. I'm VERy lucky with my car. its 12 years old with 200,000 miles on it. BUT i have a great mechanic that i found that does work out of his home. He is very honest and will tell me if i need something or don't. and he gives me deep discounts because he can out of his home. if it weren't for him it would be much more expensive to own my car. Right now, sense i don't put alot of miles on my car and because of him, i spend very little on my car. :) But mechanics like him don't come around often!! at least where i'm from they don't.
I think that's the issue those who live in big cities - like the author of the article - do not realize. not all areas have ability to get around without a car. Vancouver has an amazing public transist system - between the bus and LRT. It has bike lanes for those that can ride. If you don't have to leave the core centre, you can easily get around without a car. Even leaving the core centre, you have to juggle the transist system but it can be done. I know, I do it all the time when I go down to visit friends and family. I park my car and use public transist for the most part.
As you said though, when you live 20 miles away from your workplace, and there isn't public transist, then a car is a must have. Then it's a matter of budgeting and purchasing a car that you can afford; rather than one that you really desire.
Right now where I live, I'm 20 miles from work, so a car is a necessity. When I was in college and living in Fargo though, there were times I was car-less (broke down and had no money for another one), and I relied on walking or the bus system. It was inconvenient, but it worked.
I was surprised when I was in Charlotte NC, the lack of public transit. I was staying in Pineville, outside Charlotte uptown about 20min drive and had every intention of using the buses to go into the city. What I found was that one bus came through around 6AM and the next one, around 7PM. I thought my friend was kidding when he said I would not find a bus. I complain about the Vancouver and Fraser Valley area being limited; if you arenít afraid to do transfers and take time, you can pretty well go anywhere Ė between the buses and LRT. He told me that it was pretty common in the USA cities to have limited transit. As you mentioned, when itís limited there isnít much choice but to use a car.
For those people that don't have cars or pickups in this region (where I live), they rely on others to get them around. In my community there is no bus system, there are no cabs and getting from point A to B can mean miles of walking. People have done it, they continue to do it and when you add in that I live on "The Highway of Tears" where over a period of 30yrs women (specifically First Nations) have gone missing or murdered due to being on the road hitch-hiking from A to B, you realize how valuable a car truly is.
When I left the Arctic, I left behind "my life" as I was leaving a violent relationship. All I had was packed in my car, my car was my home. I had no where to go, no home that I was moving to and no job. But I had my car. I knew I would be okay.
Even when I lived in cities, transist was not an option - especially the last city I lived in. Transit was limited and I worked shift. I had to travel to homes all over the city - that was quite spread out - at all hours of day and night. If I didn't have a car, I wouldn't have had the job. I've had to cut back in areas, including food, to cover insurance, repairs, tires etc and I do not regret it. I will never give up my car, not until the day that the doctors state that I am not fit to drive. Even then I'll probably be like the seniors who refuse to give up their keys. I've been driving since I was 11yrs old, I cannot imagine not having that ability.
It is expensive, it is what it is. If I lived in downtown Vancouver and had the option to travel without a car and never wanted to leave the area, then I might consider it. But I do wonder what he'll do when he chooses not to stay downtown and wants to get out to rest of the Fraser Valley - as the transist system is limited. I know, that's how I get from Surrey to Vancovuer when I'm down visiting....I manage it but even further out, I'm glad that I have a car.
After a decade of owning a car, Peter Marbry is calling it quits. The Vancouver resident has crunched the numbers and come to this conclusion: it doesnít make any sense, financially.
ďI can save about $400 a month by getting rid of it, and thatís not including things like repairs and tune-ups,Ē Marbry says of his 2005 Toyota Echo. ďIíve started biking to work, which means Iím saving on parking. When I donít bike, I can walk or take public transit or even catch a cab ó even then Iíll still be ahead.Ē
Heís planning on using Craigslist to sell his car, which he paid off two years ago. Plus, he can easily rent out his parking spot in his West Side condo for $100 month.
Marbry says that a lot of his friends are asking themselves the same thing: Is it worth it to own a car?
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