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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-13-06, 11:41 AM   #1
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How do you do it?

These questions are for those that do not have a motor vehicle of any kind.

When you go on a trip out of town how do you do so? Do you fly, take a bus or the train & rent a car? Do you go on trips with a family member who has a car? Do you rent or borrow a car? What about those of you who have no family in your area you can get a ride with? Or do you simply nto go on trips that require motor vehicle transportation? How do you do it?
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Old 09-13-06, 12:04 PM   #2
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Normally, I walk 1/2 block to the bus stop, hop on the #8 bus to downtown. From there I connect to the #12 bus to the Airport. If I wish to rent a car, I do the same because the Alamo at the airport has better rates than the Enterprise near my apartment.

The worst part is that the bus's hours are so limited. Sometimes when returning on an evening flight, I am forced to take a shuttle bus back home. That's $25.00 ouch!
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Old 09-13-06, 01:47 PM   #3
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My first post in the car free forum. I'm 26 and I've never owned a car. For the last 8 years I've lived in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada). I don't have any family in town, and neither does my husband, so we can't borrow a car. I had a bike for the first two years I lived here but I didn't use it much - eventually it was stolen. I just got another bike this June that I've been using to commute to my new job. Before that I generally walked everywhere. If it was to far to walk I took transit. I only got a bus pass when I was working since it was too expensive to have one all the time. I was going to University and was always about a 20-30 minute walk from school, so it was cheaper/faster to just walk. I usually take the bus or the O-Train (local light rail pilot project in Ottawa) to get groceries, but only because I don't like the grocery store that's within walking distance, and I really don't like the neighbourhood I have to walk through to get there. Since I got my bike I've been using it to get groceries.

Right, so how do we go out of town with no car...

My husband and I used to take the bus when we went out of town. The Greyhound bus station is a 15-20 minute walk from our apartment. Now that we have a dog we generally rent cars to go out of town. The Enterprise location that I rent from is across the street from the Greyhound station, so the same 15-20 minute walk. They will pick us up but I usually find that to be more trouble than it's worth. Mostly we rent for weekend trips to go visit family in other towns (3.5-5.5 hour drive vs. 5-8 hour bus ride). When we fly (eg. to go to Vancouver to visit family) we take the bus to the airport. If we get back really late we take a cab home (generally about $20-25).
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Old 09-13-06, 02:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by N_C
When you go on a trip out of town how do you do so?
The answer depends on the exact destination and your point of departure. Would you care to discuss any specific destinations?

Google suggests that there may be some interesting regional transit options available in the Sioux City, Iowa area. (As is often the case, the web pages for regional public transit operations are vague and not well maintained.)
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Old 09-13-06, 03:16 PM   #5
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to fly, I ride bike 7 miles to airport, lock it up and fly(check with port authority about where to lock up bike)

by bus, I walk to greyhound depot a mile away and hop on the bus

option 3 I havent used yet, walk to car rental place a mile away and drive wherever
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Old 09-13-06, 03:50 PM   #6
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How's the bus system where the car-free folks live? I'm in Milwaukee, WI and its suck-tacular, though I haven't taken it in a few years.
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Old 09-13-06, 04:42 PM   #7
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How's the bus system where the car-free folks live? I'm in Milwaukee, WI and its suck-tacular, though I haven't taken it in a few years.
I'm going to make a huge generalization here. On the average, a trip on a non-express city bus takes about the same time as riding a bike. That's because bikes are point to point and you don't have to wait at a stop.

The bus system in my town has much cheaper fares than in Milwaukee. All buses here have bike racks. Milwaukee's transit web page didn't mention bike racks at all. Your evaluation: suck-tacular. I agree.
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Old 09-13-06, 04:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Platy
The answer depends on the exact destination and your point of departure. Would you care to discuss any specific destinations?

Google suggests that there may be some interesting regional transit options available in the Sioux City, Iowa area. (As is often the case, the web pages for regional public transit operations are vague and not well maintained.)
Sioux City only has a regional airport & a bus station. There is a taxi cab service & a few rental car places. The city bus system does not go every where in the city, including the airport, nor do they have bike racks. My wife & I have & only need one vehicle. I was just curious how others deal with the care free existance when they have to go on a trip.
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Old 09-13-06, 07:51 PM   #9
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I've used them all, plus (while it was running) the ferry from here to Toronto. Generally I use the bus for places with no rail or airport, rail for trips up to 300 or miles or so, and air for distances further than that. I use the city bus to get to the intercity bus depot, Amtrak station or airport. Once at my destination, I use public transport.

Even when I owned a car, when I'd visit NYC or Toronto I preferred the train. It's just too much hassle and expense to park a car in those cities. I'm thinking of a couple of bike box trips next year. My bike club has several for members' use.

One trip to Toronto with a carload of people cured me of that method. Four unrelated males in a car caused border problems in both directions. Especially coming back when we were all detained a while when it turned out one of the guys, an adventure traveller, had visa stamps from Iran and Cuba in his passport. US Customs wasn't at all pleased with that. I travel alone now.
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Old 09-14-06, 08:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_C
These questions are for those that do not have a motor vehicle of any kind.

When you go on a trip out of town how do you do so? Do you fly, take a bus or the train & rent a car? Do you go on trips with a family member who has a car? Do you rent or borrow a car? What about those of you who have no family in your area you can get a ride with? Or do you simply nto go on trips that require motor vehicle transportation? How do you do it?
It depends on how far out of town is?

I really don't have any problems going out of town because the New York Metro has good transportation. If I do have to go to an area that has little or no transportation, I'll look to see if there is a train station within 10 miles and there usually is which means my folder comes along. I'll take the bike on the train and then ride it to my desination.
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Old 09-14-06, 12:21 PM   #11
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I take Greyhound/Indian Trails busses to visit my dad every month. It's about 200 miles and costs about $75 round trip. I walk easily from the house to the bus station and vice versa, although city buses are available at both ends if I choose to use them.

Flying and the train are no problem either, for other trips I take. You certainly don't need a car to make these kind of trips! In fact, many people with cars would rather take public transit to the airport than worry about long term parking.

I never rent cars, but I don't despise carfee people who do.
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Old 09-15-06, 08:23 AM   #12
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And some of us also ride our bikes on out-of-town trips. I often visit friends by bike that live 100 or 200 miles away, even 300 in one case. Some I only see once or twice a year, some more often.

A good friend that lives 120 miles away regularly rides to my place and I to his, like once or twice a month.
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Old 09-15-06, 08:40 AM   #13
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I like to take the train myself. Greyhounds work too. Will travel up to 75 miles by bike without much thought. Am actually car lite, as I own a motorcycle.
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Old 09-15-06, 10:16 PM   #14
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I walk a couple of miles to the bus station, take the bus to San Jose, then walk a few more miles to the airport. It's amazing how pedestrian unfriendly most airport access is.

When I lived in Austin, I walked a couple of miles to the old Robert Mueller airport. I left Austin in 1998, and I imagine access to Bergstrom would be much less pedestrian friendly.

I wonder how many people have even considered walking or cycling to or from an airport. Those designing the infrastructure clearly haven't given the possibility any consideration.
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Old 09-15-06, 10:56 PM   #15
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When choosing to live car-free try to live where alternative transportation means abound.

I'm a few Metro stops from National airport so I always try to fly in/out of there. I do have family in the area so for family trips they will pick me up at another Metro stop and I will ride with them to the Baltimore airport. All 3 of DC's airports are served by express buses and/or airport shuttle vans.

I can walk to Union station for Amtrack trains. There are 3 competing curb-side bus operations down the block from me that will take one to/from NY for $35 round trip. Can't beat that. It is especially popular with students. At just about any hour of the day I will find a line of 20 - 30 of them waiting for the next bus.

Flexcar and Zipcar probably have a dozen cars stationed within 4 blocks of me (2 are right out side my aaprtment building door). So I can always rent one them for a few hours. They also have specials during the weekend that make it cheaper to take one their cars for a couple of days versus renting from, say, Enterprise.
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Old 09-15-06, 11:06 PM   #16
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I prefer to ride my bike... a few days before the trip I simply mail a priority package with some clothes and stuff... I've taken the bus places also but I'm not that fond of it, especially when crowded. I'm a little claustrophobic and I need space... I have a friend who lives 200 miles away and I can get there by bike almost as fast as the bus because of funky routing, stops and layover... plus it's a good conversation piece... people are like "you rode your bike here from Vermont? holy sh*t"

if I've got to go a long way, I prefer the train... don't like to fly and I find the train fun... I've trained down to Florida a few times and the 36 hours goes pretty quick... lots to do to pass the time... read, watch a vid on the laptop, play cards, nap, knock back a few beers
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Old 09-15-06, 11:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qpliu
When I lived in Austin, I walked a couple of miles to the old Robert Mueller airport. I left Austin in 1998, and I imagine access to Bergstrom would be much less pedestrian friendly.
Here's updated local information. Austin Bergstrom is now served by the #100 and #350 Capital Metro buses. Both buses have bike racks but they are only for unboxed bikes.

Full size bikes in boxes can be transported in SUV van taxis. I've observed that 10-20% of the taxis serving the airport are SUVs that can carry boxed bikes. Folding bikes are of course an option for taxis and buses.
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Old 09-16-06, 06:56 AM   #18
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I borrow a car from the in-laws, rent a car, or take the bus. If I am feeling really adventurous I can ride my bicycle the 5 hours to Ottawa.

Hey Judy I used to work at the Enterprise car rental place that you mention.
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Old 09-16-06, 11:10 AM   #19
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Preferred option: train. Failing that, Voyageur/Greyhound bus. If I can live with the more limited schedule and book a week ahead of time, train is fast, comfortable, and cheaper than the bus.
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Old 09-16-06, 11:31 AM   #20
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Old 09-16-06, 05:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas
Normally, I walk 1/2 block to the bus stop, hop on the #8 bus to downtown. From there I connect to the #12 bus to the Airport. If I wish to rent a car, I do the same because the Alamo at the airport has better rates than the Enterprise near my apartment.

The worst part is that the bus's hours are so limited. Sometimes when returning on an evening flight, I am forced to take a shuttle bus back home. That's $25.00 ouch!
But isn't that $25 tiny compared to the money you would spend owning a car?
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Old 09-17-06, 02:40 PM   #22
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I do pretty good hitching a ride or finding a group going in the same direction or doing the same thing.
Sure rent a car, fly, no trains though take to long.


Next week I am going to the Grand Cannyon.
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Old 09-18-06, 10:31 AM   #23
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Hey Judy I used to work at the Enterprise car rental place that you mention.
I just rented from there this past weekend (to go to Sudbury and then Manitoulin Island - we could have bussed to Sudbury and then gotten a ride to the island, but we had to take the dog). I asked for an small car but when I went to pick it up all they had for me was an SUV. The only "good" thing about that was that I was able to put my bike in the back this morning when I returned it and then ride to work. When did you work there? I've been renting from that location for the last 5 years.
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Old 09-18-06, 12:42 PM   #24
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To visit family some 60 km away, in the 'burbs: bus or train (only takes 1-1.5 hours depending on whether it's an express or not). I biked there once, but there isn't a very good route to there. To go to other cities, provinces or abroad - fly or train (the airport is easily accessible by bus or taxi; the train station I can subway or even walk to). To do fun things outdoors: ride a bike (it is part of the overall outdoors fun for the trip! ) or get a ride from friends/family (it's more fun with more people anyway ).
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Old 09-18-06, 04:32 PM   #25
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most of my trips are of the international nature. how do i get to the airport? usually i just call up a friend and have him take me + laugage and off i go. shorter domestic trips are usually done by bus and getting to the bus terminal is relatively easy using subway

im car free ever since i moved into toronto because insurance and fuel costs are just too high for a new male driver under the age of 25. (and i expect to stay car free after i hit 25)
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