We are a one car family but as our family grows we are discussing the inevitable….the mini van! Oh how I wish American vans were more like Euro vans! Small, gas efficient, small tires and engines, fold up seats and a small sounding horn that goes, “meep, meep”. But I digress. Even though we are likely to move onto a mini van we’ll still only be a one car family. We have been given three cars since we got married. We had a Delta 88 and we sold it to a guy named Chill. It was hilarious to hear my husband on the phone speaking in his proper English accent saying, “Oh hello. Is this Chill?” Another car we gave to some friends after we were given our third car. All of them have been old faithfuls just in case you were wondering if we were given Toyota Hybrids at each giving. People also loan us cars when they go out of town so Matt is often able to use another car for a week or two to drive to the other side of town for work. It’s worked out really well for us. Those little blessings have been super helpful for us but in all honesty we have functioned very well as a one car family.
Matt started to take the bus to work two years ago taking advantage of the alone time during the commute. It’s also been like watching a good movie seeing all sorts of people that ride the bus. I find it fascinating that riding the bus in the states is considered a poor man’s mean of transportation but in other countries it’s often the main mode of transport, either that or some sort of tram. A lot of countries have a great rail system that will take you all over the city and rich and poor take the bus or tram rather than owning a car. Here in the US if you take the bus it’s likely because you can’t afford a car, that’s the assumption anyway. I have met some unsavory characters in my years riding the bus but I’m sure there are just as many crazies who are driving to work in their car. I’m excited however that it seems public transport is making a comeback.
When I use to live south of Seattle I would cringe when I had to drive on I-5 (our main interstate). The carpool lane is often unused, gridlock is a reality that will cause severe road rage and there is ALWAYS construction going on because they are ALWAYS making the freeway bigger. People want to be left alone as they listen to their own music and drink their own latte. It’s what we’re use to. I’m always impressed when I see the occasional car full of business men, not speaking to one another, reading their papers in a single car. Way to go! Carpooling!
Last year we took our kids on their first family bus ride downtown to play at the children’s museum and they LOVED it. It was sort of a family adventure and my son thought it was the most amazing thing in the world to be in a huge bus with other people. I can’t say it’s something we do as a family all the time (my husband takes them out on the bus more) but it definitely opened up a new world of family transport for me. I look for ways in which we don’t have to use our car. I actually don’t like using my car at all. It’s a necessary evil when picking up groceries and living in a state where winter graces us in the single digits for six months out of the year. In the summer we try to bike or walk as much as possible and it helps that we live next to a bike path and many other conveniences. My husband and I trade car days depending on the week’s events. It’s challenged our thinking about taking the bus and how economical, safe and relaxing it can be. It does take a bit longer but….oh well.
It’s a lot safer than it use to be, you don’t have to worry about parking and it’s a great way to intentionally slow your life down. I’m thinking this spring allow more opportunity to explore the city and give the kids an adventure. It’s not always convenient or possible for everybody but if you have the means I highly recommend it. Plus, your kids will love it!