I live in rural America. Our local bus system is weak and extremely limited. It would be impossible for us to do our work commute, school and soccer practice stuff using it. Impossible.
We did switch from our beloved but gas guzzling truck to the Prius in Dec. '12 though.
With our current setup, even $10/gal. would be manageable. We set ourselves up for rising fuel costs as best as we could given our local and needs.
Better bike and PT infrastructure. But I suppose thats a but of a "chicken vs. egg" scenario. Ive been using PT fairly regularly since I live downtown, plus its nice my partner gets free bus passes through his work. For longer trips though (like to Provo or Ogden), thats when ill choose the car every time.
It wouldn't take much. I live in a big city, but where I live, there is NO METRO. The bus system in this part of town is sub par as well. In highschool, if I walked home, it would take me about an hour. If I took the bus it would take about an hour as well. The bus was thus only taken when there was a severe snow or rain storm.
There is a train that brings you to the center of the city, but that is about a 45 minute walk from my house. A lot of my friends take this, but they take their cars to the train station. So a car is still needed.
Moral of the story? If I had decent public transportation available to me, I would not own a car right now. I would maybe own something fun that I could drive occasionally (Ill be honest, I love driving too much to give it up outright) but the cost of gas, parking, insurance, etc is really getting to me and all of us.
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If I lived in the center of the city and also worked there, I wouldn't have a car. Or if I did have a car it would be a complete POS to be used for ski and bicycling trips.
But unfortunately even in Philadelphia, the public transit just isn't good enough. I just got back from touring Germany and holy crap, its so cheap and easy to use the public transit that there really is no reason to own a car. And many people in the cities don't.... its evident in the air quality. I never realized just how much the city smelled like car exhaust until I got off the airplane yesterday. Didn't get that at all in downtown Munich, Zurich, Frankfurt, etc.
'12 Trek X-caliber // '11 Cervélo R3 // '90 Havnoonian custom
2010 VW GTI
I spend roughly $8,000 on fuel a year currently ... I think the average price for a gallon of gas would have to rise from $3.80ish (what I'm paying now) to over $16.00/gallon (quadrupling) in order to force me out of driving. Even then, I'd probably just move closer to work rather than give up my car.
Not that it's your fault, but that is the way we've been developing suburbia. If you had a small corner market within a couple blocks of your home, it would be a part of the lifestyle. You could buy fresh food daily or every other day, and not have to live the big box/frozen food lifestyle.
It's ironic that we have to live like pioneers at the edge of civilization with our monthly treks to town for goods.
I keep nothing in my fridge but a few condiments and fluids. I don't use my microwave. I go to the market daily. I cook all meals from scratch or near to, but never with frozen food - always fresh meats, veggies, fruits, etc.. But my market is 2 miles away - just far enough to mean I have to drive. A scooter or even bicycle would be ideal, but the risk at this point is pretty high. The streets have 55mph speed limits, and every time I drive, I see cars weaving into the occasional bike lanes.
Public transportation here is not very robust, either. One bus, every 1-3 hours, and it doesn't go to that shopping center with the supermarket???
Maybe $8 /gallon gas will make us re-think this ill strategy of putting up miles of walled boulevards and forcing us into the big box culture.
Not an option for me.. What is generally a 25 minute drive would be an hour to 1.5 hour commute via bus / train.... so definitely not an option for me.
Besides the fact that our public transit systems basically suck in Toronto, I also can't stomach having to wait around, and having to deal with people. Lastly, my job requires me to be all over the place on a moments notice, so I'm a car guy until they take my license away.
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I'm already out of the car - I haven't had a car since I moved to China over 5 years ago. Right now I rely on my electric scooter (commuting 1 day a week plus grocery shopping and trips to the nearest Metro stop), my bicycle (commuting 4 days a week) and the Metro (any other trips I need to take).
However, my wife and I are planning to buy a car next year for non-commuting purposes (i.e. travel, shopping, etc) just because it will be more convenient to take our family around if we have one. However, I will not ever drive to work, because commuting by car has absolutely no advantages in Shanghai, and plenty of disadvantages.
"Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."
- Jack Layton, 1950-2011
Hey, at least you are in an area with mild weather for biking. Up here in MI, we are definitely limited a 1/3rd of the year unless one is really dedicated.
I bought a bike for recreation back in 2009 and once I got back to the USA an opportunity opened up for me to ride to work for the first time ever. And now... I try to ride every chance I get. It is a great cardio chance for me and allows me to relax as I go to and from work. I go to (2) different facilities in the Metro Detroit area (Pontiac and Warren) and live somewhat in between (Birmingham). It's 11 miles one way in either destination so I can get a good workout.
This is my current ride... (when I don't absolutely need the car)
I've gotten the bike bug now and hankering for a cyclocross-type bike or one of the many new road-like bikes designed for some comfort/stability with discs... like...
Exercise, saves gas, fun... I love it. I still like cars, but eversince being spoiled by a fantastic/fun drive while living around Mexico City/Toluca for 3 years... coming home to the boring drive of Metro Detroit just bores the heck out of me.