Last year Kristen and I made a long-term family decision about having two cars.
We don’t need one. And when we do we will just rent one.
Since last Spring I’ve taken the trolley to work as opposed to a crazy driving ritual. We live 1.2 miles from the trolley stop at San Diego State University. And the YS office is 1.6 miles from a trolley stop in El Cajon. So, to keep my commute quick I ride my bike, take it on the trolley, and then ride my bike to work and reverse that on the way home.
Here’s the crazy thing. When we shared one car it felt like we needed two cars. But now that we have one car and I ride my bike or take the trolley everywhere… it kind of feels like maybe we could live without a car!
Granted, we live in a major metropolitan area that has a decent public transit system. While it’s not “easy for me,” it is something I chose to make work in my life because of the benefits.
Here are five of those benefits.
- We don’t have the expense and stress of a second car. No repairs. No insurance. No regular maintenance. No license fees. No gas. I pay about $50 per month to ride the trolley 3-4 days per week. (I’m not religious about taking the trolley. If I don’t want to, I don’t!)
- I have about 1:20 per day to myself. When I leave the house at 8:00 AM and get on my bike I pop my headphones in and just relax. Once you nail a routine, the bike ride and time on the trolley is amazing. I listen to music or podcasts, I read the newspapers on my iPhone, stuff like that.
- I get to see, hear, talk to, and interact with strangers every day. If you think about your average day… chances are you don’t interact with a lot of the general public. And you definitely don’t interact with the general public if you drive and go to an office! It brings me great joy to interact with “real people” every day.
- I make Kristen’s life simpler. This might be the one place in our relationship this is true. When we shared our car daily we had to go through this routine where we arranged for who was going where, when. Now, Kristen just does her thing and I do mine. If I need a car during my work day I can just take our work truck. If I need to do something outside of that– we rent a car. Seriously, the guys at Enterprise in our neighborhood know me by name!
- I have a concrete get to work and leave work time. I’m a total work-junkie. But knowing I need to leave the house at 8 and leave the office at 5 to catch my trolley– that’s awesome.
Of course there are other benefits. Taking public transportation is also green as I’m using very little natural resources to get to and from work. And 5 miles of bike riding per day has health benefits. But, in my mind, those are by-products of these main benefits.
What about you? How can you ditch the solo-car routine and find some added benefits?