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Old 10-29-07, 10:15 AM   #1
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why cars will always be with us

i go to a mental health clinic where people are on public assistance and i was amazed at the number of people that have cars. it made me think if these people that don't work for a living can have cars then there is really no incentive for working people to seek out alternatives to car use.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:20 AM   #2
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I think the amazing part is that people with cars need to go to a mental health clinic.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:56 AM   #3
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I think the amazing part is that people with cars need to go to a mental health clinic.
Maybe that is why they are there...because of the car I know I am in a much better mood the less time I spend behind the wheel, and the more time I spend in the saddle.

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Old 10-29-07, 11:44 AM   #4
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We were in a Taco Bueno a while back. This lady came in, talking to people that weren't there, and ignoring anyone that talked to her. She asked my teenage son "Did anyone ever tell you that you look like God?" She eventually got her order, went back out to her car and drove off. Scary. Of course, if she didn't have a license, I doubt she'd know the difference.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:49 AM   #5
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We were in a Taco Bueno a while back. This lady came in, talking to people that weren't there, and ignoring anyone that talked to her. She asked my teenage son "Did anyone ever tell you that you look like God?" She eventually got her order, went back out to her car and drove off. Scary. Of course, if she didn't have a license, I doubt she'd know the difference.
Instructive. If she doesn't have a license, does she know who she is?

There are two things that just about anyone can do in America, regardless of qualifications: Breed and drive.
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Old 10-29-07, 12:26 PM   #6
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That and you do not need a license to drive a car. Legally, yes.

Now why did I reply to this thread?
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Old 10-29-07, 07:19 PM   #7
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I couldn't attend University without my car. Until all Universities go online, many students will continue to have to drive.
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Old 10-29-07, 07:30 PM   #8
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I think the amazing part is that people with cars need to go to a mental health clinic.
Come now. I know you were making a joke, but I visit a mental health hospital once every few months, and I do it via bicycle. I can only imagine the thoughts some people have when they see me leaving there on my bike, dressed like a Splinter Cell reject in the dead of winter.
People visit these places for reasons other than just stress. For me, I have Tourette's Syndrome.
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Old 10-29-07, 07:56 PM   #9
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Instructive. If she doesn't have a license, does she know who she is?

There are two things that just about anyone can do in America, regardless of qualifications: Breed and drive.
You can also ride a bike with no qualification. Many do, facing traffic, at two am, with no helmet or lights.
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Old 10-29-07, 08:31 PM   #10
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I couldn't attend University without my car. Until all Universities go online, many students will continue to have to drive.
Interesting. I'm certainly not going to debate your circumstances, but the connection is not a universal one. Students at schools with good on-campus housing options, plenty of nearby rental options, or good public transportation can usually do without a car. I didn't have one until my junior year, and then I used it probably less than once a week, except when I was working during the summer.

Of course, economics will probably drive cars to have a diminishing transportation role in the future, but I maintain that they will never be done away with due to the convenience. I'm not even convinced car ownership will revert to being a minority status in the foreseeable future (50+ years).

I do, however, see a lot of lower income people riding bikes around my neighborhood.
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Old 10-29-07, 08:36 PM   #11
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hey acorn where do you live because that kind of thing doesn't happen in new york. almost no one on welfare got a car
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Old 10-29-07, 08:40 PM   #12
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Students at schools with good on-campus housing options, plenty of nearby rental options, or good public transportation can usually do without a car.
In my case, there isn't much in the way of on-campus housing, and what there is has LONG waiting lists, there isn't much in the way of nearby rental options, and what there is costs a fortune, and good public transportation doesn't reach 150 kms away from the University where I live.

There are a lot of us who have opted to commute incredible distances (I cover about 1000 kms a week) because it is less expensive than renting a room (not an apartment, a single room) in the city where the University is.
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Old 10-29-07, 09:06 PM   #13
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Interesting. I'm certainly not going to debate your circumstances, but the connection is not a universal one. Students at schools with good on-campus housing options, plenty of nearby rental options, or good public transportation can usually do without a car. I didn't have one until my junior year, and then I used it probably less than once a week, except when I was working during the summer.
When I first started college all those years ago, I had to move back in with my parents because I could no longer afford rent due to paying for college. I purchased a truck to drive to school 40 miles away. I could barely afford to pay for the truck, insurence, and gas as well as school... but it was still cheaper than housing options on or off campus.
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Old 10-29-07, 09:22 PM   #14
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Society is structured around the car. University students who should be trying to minimize their debts add car payments and go deeper in debt. People on assistance or disability pay their scarce funds for a car so they can get to appointments, or look for work. Some of them are piling on debt, or getting undeclared assistance from family or doing without other basic needs in order to pay for their cars. In lots of places it's difficlut ot manage without a car because communities are designed on the assumption most people have one.
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Old 10-29-07, 09:30 PM   #15
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University students who should be trying to minimize their debts add car payments and go deeper in debt.
Not in my case!! In my case, my car is keeping my debt much lower than it would otherwise be.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:20 PM   #16
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i live on long island in new york and the people that have cars and do not work are not on welfare, they are on either disability or ssi a government program that gives money to people who are not eligible for either welfare or disability. on these programs you are allowed to have a car and still recieve government checks.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:42 PM   #17
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In Hawaii, we have a really stupid government program where people who are receiving "public assistance" (aka "welfare") and are working have their vehicle insurance fully paid for by the state. The state takes all of the drivers in this program and forces the insurance companies that want to do business in this state to insure these drivers.

As a result, many of the people in this program drive drunk because since they don't have to pay their own insurance premiums, they don't have to worry about their rates going up. Just another shining example of our government at work.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:00 PM   #18
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Not in my case!! In my case, my car is keeping my debt much lower than it would otherwise be.
I am having a hard time deciphering this comment. Not that I don't believe you, but here's my back-of-napkin calculation:

1000 km per week = 625 miles per week
625 miles per week at 30 miles/gallon* = 21 gallons per week
21 gallons per week at $3 per gallon = $63 per week
$63 per week for 4 weeks = $252 per month

That's in fuel money alone, not counting parking, insurance, maintenance and the car itself. Let's be extremely generous** and call it $350 per month total. Is rent really that expensive around campus, that $350 per month extra will not get you a decent place?

On top of that, 625 km per week at 45 miles per hour average*** = 14 hours per week spent in the car, if you don't meet up with traffic. How much is that worth?


* I don't know what kind of mileage you get, but 30 mpg is actually above average in the US of A.

** generous, because 1. typical college-age people have one of the highest insurance rates, 2. parking at school can't be cheap, and 3. we are discounting the miscellaneous stuff like the occasional parking/speeding tickets.

*** 45 mph average is just a WAG, but my experience says the typical average is generally lower.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:07 PM   #19
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I believe Machka is attending university in a city that is experiencing one of the worst housing crises in its history. Perhaps it will change, but right now I am of the understanding that using the car as much as she is is truly cheaper than housing within walking or even biking distance.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:11 PM   #20
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Is rent really that expensive around campus, that $350 per month extra will not get you a decent place?


I'm sorry, this part of your analysis struck me really funny. $350/ month ... a decent place???? That's a riot!!!

A small single room, with shared kitchen and bathroom goes for roughly $600/month, in a house full of people ... mostly students who want to party rather than study like I do. A small, unattractive bachelor apartment goes for about $900/month. A kind of sleezy one-bedroom is over $1000/month. Nevermind the places in nice buildings.

It costs me about $90 a week in fuel, which works out to about $360 a month. Even if you add $100/month in insurance, that's only $460/month ... it's still $160/month cheaper than getting accommodations in the city where the university is. And my parking is free. As long as I park 2 kms or further away from the university, and walk to the university from there, I get free parking.

It does take up about 4 hours a day which kind of sucks, but that's the price to pay for the cheapest monetary option.


BTW - do you know what I could get for $350/month .... one place was renting out a sofa (when no one else was using it) for a bit less than that .... a guy wanted a lady to live in his basement and do all his cooking and cleaning and taking care of his kids .... another guy wanted 4 ladies to move in with him and share his new hot tub ... decent places. Mmm-hmmm. Sure.

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Old 10-29-07, 11:17 PM   #21
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I believe Machka is attending university in a city that is experiencing one of the worst housing crises in its history. Perhaps it will change, but right now I am of the understanding that using the car as much as she is is truly cheaper than housing within walking or even biking distance.

You are absolutely right ... it's insane!! Two years ago, when I was planning to attend this university, I could have gotten a 1 bedroom apartment for about $400/month, but the prices have nearly tripled. The city is toying with ideas to solve the problem, but so far all they've come up with is the idea that they should build million dollar 3 bedroom bungalows on the outskirts of town. I really don't get why they are not thinking "apartment buildings".
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Old 10-30-07, 05:44 AM   #22
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I couldn't attend University without my car. Until all Universities go online, many students will continue to have to drive.
Excuse. Lots of people go to school without a car. So are you telling me if all the cars disappeared tomorrow, you'd have to quit school? BS.
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Old 10-30-07, 07:01 AM   #23
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Of course, economics will probably drive cars to have a diminishing transportation role in the future, but I maintain that they will never be done away with due to the convenience. I'm not even convinced car ownership will revert to being a minority status in the foreseeable future (50+ years).

I do, however, see a lot of lower income people riding bikes around my neighborhood.
I live in a poor neighborhood and the number of people bicycling (to work I assume, at or about 8 AM) has started increasing quite a bit. I'm not saying we are above any statistical margin of error yet but nonetheless there has been a noticeable uptic. I've also noticed that when one of my neighbors buys a car now it is usually an old sedan or coupe of some sort. The days of a neighbor showing off his hugomungus shiny brand spaking new SUV or Super Duty pickup seem to be fading. I think this change will happen from the poor side of our country first and then trickle into the middle class.
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Old 10-30-07, 10:00 AM   #24
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Not in my case!! In my case, my car is keeping my debt much lower than it would otherwise be.
I second this, Machka. I've done the numbers too. Here in SoCA, it is cheaper to drive my Toyota Sequoia than it is to take the train or busses (it's 40 miles to work).

Money saving options:

1. Carpool.

2. Bike.

I use 'em both.
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Old 10-30-07, 10:43 AM   #25
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While tossing numbers out there regarding Machka's Math, my only consideration would be the time factor. If I were a busy student, I'd take the mode of transport that left me with the most free time to live a life. Four hours a day by car might translate to twice that by bike. When would she be able to simply get some sleep?
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