Adventures in Transportation

The Bear and Banana take the LRT to the downtown library.

Last week we were left with an extra car as my mother was on a trip. Not thinking much of it, we took advantage. Since we are usually a one-car family, having an extra vehicle meant no morning negotiation of who-needs-to-be-where-when. MJ was able to drive to work, and the girls and I could go wherever we wanted. It was not difficult to assume the role of that two-car family.

Also last week, I stumbled upon the blog of the Minimalist Mom – a Vancouver mother who is trying to pare down her life. This included getting rid of the family vehicle. This family uses public transit or zip cars to get around. The cost savings are amazing. The amount they save on insurance alone is enough to easily cover off public transit, taxis, and the occasional zip car.

Of course, Edmonton isn’t Vancouver. I’m not going to pretend that being carless in this winter city with less than stellar public transit routes would be an easy challenge. However, after reading the Minimalist Mom’s posts, it made me glad that we have managed to stick to a single car.

It’s amazing how we think about vechicles. Aside from the face that a car is a family’s number two status symbol (behind the house), cars have pushed us into the fast lane of living. The more vechicles a family owns, the more activities they can do simotaneously. The bigger the status symbol, the more of a cost – not just in payments and insurance but gasoline too. And the ability to own more vechicles makes it easier for families to move further and further from services that they can walk to.

I’m sure someone much smarter than I has said this somewhere, but I’ll say it here: change the way we think about transporting ourselves, and we change how we live.

The Bear, Banana and I had a great trip to the downtown library on the LRT (part of this week’s challenge). It was so simple that I don’t know why we don’t do it more often. This will definitely go on my list of ‘inexpensive kids activities’! Not only was it fun, but I think that it is important that public transit becomes part of their ‘normal.’

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