Thursday, February 3, 2011

Not quite ready

I attempted an experiment last week. Something most of my friends, and Americans in general, would think is crazy: I was going to ride the bus. I figured it would be no big deal. After all I live a few blocks off one of the busiest roads in Pinellas County, I work at 2 places that are also on major roads, the price of gas was going up, and I had just seen Rachel Botsman's Tedtalk on collaborative consumption. Even my school was on the bus route. My schedule is flexible enough that I could adjust it to the transit system's schedule and it would be a piece of cake. Or so I thought. After looking at all the PSTA route maps, I bought myself a one week unlimited bus pass for $20. I calculated that if I rode it for 144 miles in the week I would be saving money. I did not add all the other costs of owning a car, just the gas. 2 trips to school would be 50 miles and back and forth to work would get me close, but it wasn't just about the money.

I hopped on last Saturday morning, off to meet my friend for a trip to the St Pete Farmer's Market, then I would head to a writing workshop at school which would give me an idea of where the bus stopped in that part of town. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the walking that was involved with going to and from the bus stops. The ride to school after the market was also pleasant. I even had a backup plan with a fellow student in case our class ran late on Monday night. That is where I made my mistake. I checked and rechecked the schedule to make sure the bus ran 'til 10:30 pm, in the school neighborhood. I neglected to check if it ran back up to my did not. I would have been stranded about a mile from home on a busy street after 10 pm. Fortunately for me, I noticed this on Monday morning and not Monday night and so scrapped the idea. Now I could have gone back and forth to work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday but I decided instead to give my bus pass to someone who takes the bus because they have to and hope that the little financial boost would help them out.

So while I love the idea of not having a car and all the expense that goes along with it, I'm just not ready for it yet. I will definitely consider taking it again when I go to the St Pete Farmer's Market or other excursions and will be dreaming of the day when Zipcar comes to town.

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