Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Car vs No Car

When I lived in Toronto, I had a monthly public transit pass called the TTC Metropass. It cost $121/month (ouch!) and offered unlimited travel on the TTC system. Now that I live (temporarily) north of the city, I have a car (1 year leased Honda Civic) which costs me $600/month (lease payment, insurance, gas). I've always been a huge fan of public transportation and never had any issues with the TTC, other than the fact that our city's monthly passes are way overpriced. We lived near everything we needed at our apartment and we never even considered getting a car. Moving to the suburbs has changed everything. I feel sorry for those living in the 'burbs and taking public transit. I seriously and regularly consider offering rides to people I see waiting for the bus. I've been there, pre-driver's licence, so I know how much it sucks because York Region public transit consists of buses that run once an hour, or maybe twice if you're lucky.

So this leads me to a car versus no car showdown. Although I have a TTC sign here because that was the mode of transportation I took when I didn't have a car. 

[car, sign]

  • First and foremost, cars are convenient. You go basically anywhere, whenever
  • I can set my own indoor temperature. I rarely use AC in cars, but I always blast the heat..mmmmm heat. Feels so good. Dry skin be damned!
  • I can listen to the radio
  • I can make phone calls (with a headset!) and don't have to say, "The train's about to go underground so the phone might...hello? hello??.."
    No car
    • I am way more active because I have to walk a lot more (to and from stations, to the store, etc. It added up to a few kilometres each day)
    • I have way more money because cars are expensive, yo!
    • I feel like I have more me time because I can read, nap, think freely, have full-on face-to-face conversations, play phone games, etc on the train or bus.
    • It's easy to budget transportation costs when you have a monthly pass. There are no surprise costs, but expect yearly or bi-yearly fare increases.
    • You don't have to worry about driving drunk. As long as you're not disorderly, drink the night away and then take the bus/train home! Looks like someone spiked Santa's eggnog...
      • First and foremost, cars are expensive. The convenience comes at a price.
      • Cars require maintenance. Some more than others. I feel like maintenance and repair costs are always a surprise. Like, "Surprise! You need a new transmission. That'll be $1700
      • Gas prices. I try not to get into the mind game of "filling up when gas is (relatively) cheap" because it barely saves any money. Filling up on Wednesday when it was 1.3 cents cheaper yesterday isn't going to break the bank. It's like a 60 cents difference in your overall cost! But for some reason, we're all looking for a so-called deal at the pumps
      • Parking is a bitch in Toronto. A real bitch, I tell ya!
      • Driving is dangerous! I don't really think I engage in any activities that are more dangerous to my well-being than driving.
      • Road rage and parking lot rage... 'nuff said.
      • Being designated driver (DD) sucks. 
      • Rush hour is horrendous in Toronto, causing crazy long commute times. I think Toronto's commute times are ranked one of the worst in the world.
      • At first, when I got this car, I was loving listening to the radio again. I literally hadn't listened to the radio in over 2 years. After the fiftieth time of hearing "Moves Like Jaggar" I wanted to burst my own ear drums. Radio is way to repetitive for my liking. 
      • Cars make me lazy. Pre-car, I would, without question, walk a kilometre to the grocery store. Post-car, I'm tempted to attach the dog leash to the bumper and "walk" the dog like that. So sad.
      No Car
      • Inclement weather is not your friend if you don't have a car 
      • Buses that are chronically late (I'm talking to you, #105!)
      • It can take a ridiculously long time to get places sometimes
      • You're limited to the boundaries of the transit systems
      • Overcrowded platforms, buses and trains, especially during flu season
      • Being subjected to other people's bad habits with no escape
        • People smacking gum/food (THE WORST!!!)
        • People playing music on their phones without headphones (TIED FOR THE WORST!!!). This is why we have headphones, people!!!
        • Smelly people and food
      • My irrational fear that I will
        • Get pushed on to tracks when a train is coming
        • Get stuck in a train when someone's on a shooting spree
        • Hurt myself or get attacked and no one will help me. This is not so irrational because I had a scary (probably homeless) man harass and follow me when I was 12 and no one did anything, even though I was crying and obviously scared. Tsk tsk bystanders!!.
      • You find out who your real friends are because you totally will NOT take a bus in inclement weather to see someone you only feel so-so about. Although this could also be seen as a pro...
      So, let me know... What did I miss?? Do you have any pet peeves for your city's transit system? Do you love driving too much to ever give it up? I wanna hear your stories!

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