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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 05-07-08, 07:22 AM   #1
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Drive out of poverty??

Anyone seen this?

http://cnnmoney.mobi/money/latest_ne...F24A3694FBB8D3

Comments?
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Old 05-07-08, 07:56 AM   #2
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Looked like it was going towards LCF. I was fooled. It's a good program. I'm sure it helps a lot of people who feel they "need" it. I'm sure though, there are examples of people getting cars when perhaps they didn't.
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Old 05-07-08, 08:03 AM   #3
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Funny how bicycling was never an option in that article. There was one fellow who took 3 hours to get to work by mass transit. It would take me almost 2 hours to get to work by mass transit, but 25-30 minutes by bike as I can go a much more direct route.
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Old 05-07-08, 09:49 AM   #4
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Talk about "managing" the truth!
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Old 05-07-08, 11:37 AM   #5
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I have a friend who supports herself and 3 children on Social Security Disability. The only subsidized housing she was able to find was in a town about 10 miles outside the city, with no bus service. She spends a big portion of her fixed income on a car and gasoline. I don't see much choice for her. Do you?

BTW, just this morning gas prices jumped about 50 cents to an average $3.90 in my metro area, according to the noon news on TV.
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Old 05-07-08, 03:10 PM   #6
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I have a friend who supports herself and 3 children on Social Security Disability. The only subsidized housing she was able to find was in a town about 10 miles outside the city, with no bus service. She spends a big portion of her fixed income on a car and gasoline. I don't see much choice for her. Do you?

That's a big problem that goverment should seriously be looking at. She's caught between a rock and a hard place through no fault of her own. There should be some subsidized housing within the city or at least somewhere with decent access to a mass transit system. Could she move to a city that has better services? I assume in her situation that's not possible but I'd assume I couldn't get any worse..

BTW, just this morning gas prices jumped about 50 cents to an average $3.90 in my metro area, according to the noon news on TV.
ss
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Old 05-07-08, 03:11 PM   #7
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I have a friend who supports herself and 3 children on Social Security Disability. The only subsidized housing she was able to find was in a town about 10 miles outside the city, with no bus service. She spends a big portion of her fixed income on a car and gasoline. I don't see much choice for her. Do you?
BTW, just this morning gas prices jumped about 50 cents to an average $3.90 in my metro area, according to the noon news on TV.
That's a big problem that goverment should seriously be looking at. She's caught between a rock and a hard place through no fault of her own. There should be some subsidized housing within the city or at least somewhere with decent access to a mass transit system. Could she move to a city that has better services? I assume in her situation that's not possible but I'd assume I couldn't get any worse..
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Old 05-07-08, 04:36 PM   #8
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I have a friend who supports herself and 3 children on Social Security Disability. The only subsidized housing she was able to find was in a town about 10 miles outside the city, with no bus service. She spends a big portion of her fixed income on a car and gasoline. I don't see much choice for her. Do you?

BTW, just this morning gas prices jumped about 50 cents to an average $3.90 in my metro area, according to the noon news on TV.
This is the problem with an autocentric society Many people have no other choice. Truly affordable housing is seldom near where people work. The house I used to rent that was within walking distance of my job in the 1980's is now totally unafordable for someone that holds that same position now, by a factor of about 3. I don't know if rent controls or even section 8 housing are the answer. But something needs to change. Unfortunately car ownership for the lower economic side of society is a trap, they have to work to support the car, but they have to have the car to work...

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Old 05-07-08, 06:13 PM   #9
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I love how the guy's like bulls**tting left and right about oh that poor woman and how society's abandoned her and how she's totally so much better if she just moved within biking distance cause she's oh so in shape to bike everyday and carry her 3 kids with her.

Too FRIGGING BAD. I used to put in 15 THOUSAND miles a year commuting and I still agree with her. She NEEDS a car, period. She made her situation work with a car and good for her. Cycling works for SOME people but I love how people jump at the chance to use it on someone for which it's not an option for.
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Old 05-07-08, 06:44 PM   #10
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I cried that day," Mitchell said of getting her car.
From the article:

>>>It now takes her about 30 minutes instead of more than an hour, she said, to get to her $8 an hour part-time job at the Boys and Girls Club of America. And now she can do something with her kids, she said, other than leave them at home once she manages to get them there, which she used to do on foot or by hitching rides.<<<<

Incredible.

Here's a woman with three kids and a parttime job that pays $8.00 dollars an hour driving a car she can't afford. Folks, if I was making that little money there is NO WAY I'm driving a car even if you gave me one for free. That poor family must be starving on that little bit of money.

What's wrong taking an hour to get to work? The average New York City commuter takes over an hour on public transit but we do it because it saves money! Folks, when you are broke like this woman, you don't use a car because you will remain in poverty. A part time job at $8.00 dollars an hour could be 12K a year but after taxes it's more like 9K. The car takes 3K leaving her with 6-7 K a year to live on.

That's not a job but a hobby!
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Old 05-07-08, 06:57 PM   #11
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From the article:

>>>According to the survey, 61% of Vermonters who had received cars from Good News Garage said they reduced their dependence on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal aid program, as a direct result of having a car. More than half said they had stopped using TANF altogether.<<<

This stats look good but they're not. Only half of those given a car stopped using public assistance. In other words, the car really didn't lift them out of poverty but only allowed them to locate low paying jobs.

I've said it before but a car is not a subsitude for college or quality skills. For some reason, the pro-motorist thinkers consider the car a way out of poverty. It's just the opposite. The article and the stats prove the car keeps the poor in poverty as their transportation costs make it impossible to improve their condition like save for higher education. Those who did find jobs (60%) only found low paying jobs and the vehicle will make sure they remain on the edge the rest of their lives.
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Old 05-07-08, 07:00 PM   #12
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I love how the guy's like bulls**tting left and right about oh that poor woman and how society's abandoned her and how she's totally so much better if she just moved within biking distance cause she's oh so in shape to bike everyday and carry her 3 kids with her.

Too FRIGGING BAD. I used to put in 15 THOUSAND miles a year commuting and I still agree with her. She NEEDS a car, period. She made her situation work with a car and good for her. Cycling works for SOME people but I love how people jump at the chance to use it on someone for which it's not an option for.
I think it is always good to remember that, while cycling may work for us individually, not all can do it. I would like to see more options in mass transit to at least give most of society a viable option. Not waiting for a bus for 25-30 minutes and having it not come, all while you need to be at work.
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Old 05-07-08, 08:36 PM   #13
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Truly affordable housing is seldom near where people work. The house I used to rent that was within walking distance of my job in the 1980's is now totally unaffordable for someone that holds that same position now, by a factor of about 3.
Exactly. Housing that's close to the workplace will always command a premium. Same with reputable public transit -- here, if you can put "near Metro" in a real estate ad, you can probably jack up the value 10-20% because people will pay more for the chance to walk only two blocks to the subway.

Honestly, I think that this is another area where capitalism does more harm than good. That's delving into P&R territory, though..
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Old 05-07-08, 08:39 PM   #14
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The last anecdote in the article:

Quote:
Philip Schools, a recovering drug addict, lives near Baltimore and works at a Home Depot. He said used to spend up to six hours a day simply getting to work and back on mass transit.

Getting a used Buick from Vehicles for Change cut his commute to a half hour each way and has allowed him time, he said, to work on starting his own lawn maintenance business to earn more money.

Almost as important, said Schools, it has given him a sense of personal responsibility while giving him an opportunity to build a credit history. "It's not just about the vehicle," he said, "It has other component parts."
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Old 05-07-08, 09:34 PM   #15
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Cars can be tools that allow people to earn more money. If the tool is used incorrectly or is not needed at all then it is a waste of money.
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Old 05-07-08, 10:59 PM   #16
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Yes, the infrastructure we have now sucks, and makes it really inconvenient to not have a car. I can understand why even very poor people think life is impossible without one. But, honestly, you can't argue with math. Even a really cheap beater costs at least $4000.00/year to own and operate, not including the initial price of the car. (And you'll probably spend more on maintenance than you estimate, because it's an old piece of sh*t.) Assuming you make $10.00/hour working 40 hours a week, that's almost 20% of your total pre-tax income. A peak hour bus pass in Seattle, on the other hand, costs about $60.00/mo, or $720/year, which is about the same as the insurance on the above-mentioned cheap car. Instead of spending 20% of your total income on transportation, you'll spend 4%. If you ride a bike, you can buy a decent commuter and everything to go with it for not much more than the bus pass, and then use it for years. With the money you save by not having a car, you can afford to get housing that isn't so far from work, probably live in a nicer area anyway, and generally have a better life with less hassle. You probably won't have a yard, you'll live in a smaller space, and, if you're very poor, you may have to share housing, but all of those things have got to be better than either: a) spending so much of your money on a car that you can never dig yourself out, and b.) having to spend a lot of time getting to and from your job, when you could be doing something more productive, like hanging out with your kids or developing skills that will allow you to get a better job.

I'm sorry, but cars are just a stupid waste of money. This is especially true if you're poor.

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Old 05-08-08, 03:03 AM   #17
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Yes, the infrastructure we have now sucks, and makes it really inconvenient to not have a car. I can understand why even very poor people think life is impossible without one. But, honestly, you can't argue with math. Even a really cheap beater costs at least $4000.00/year to own and operate, not including the initial price of the car. (And you'll probably spend more on maintenance than you estimate, because it's an old piece of sh*t.) Assuming you make $10.00/hour working 40 hours a week, that's almost 20% of your total pre-tax income. A peak hour bus pass in Seattle, on the other hand, costs about $60.00/mo, or $720/year, which is about the same as the insurance on the above-mentioned cheap car. Instead of spending 20% of your total income on transportation, you'll spend 4%. If you ride a bike, you can buy a decent commuter and everything to go with it for not much more than the bus pass, and then use it for years. With the money you save by not having a car, you can afford to get housing that isn't so far from work, probably live in a nicer area anyway, and generally have a better life with less hassle. You probably won't have a yard, you'll live in a smaller space, and, if you're very poor, you may have to share housing, but all of those things have got to be better than either: a) spending so much of your money on a car that you can never dig yourself out, and b.) having to spend a lot of time getting to and from your job, when you could be doing something more productive, like hanging out with your kids or developing skills that will allow you to get a better job.

I'm sorry, but cars are just a stupid waste of money. This is especially true if you're poor.
I take it you are up to date on the mass transit in the rest of the country?

I know in the large town near me it doesn't run much before 7am or after 8 pm, and has very limited routes. I would wager that it only serves an area that is accessible to only about 15% of the total population, and misses most of the industrial areas where the better paying jobs are. I also suspect in mostly rural states like Vermont it is as bad if not worse.

You happen to live in an area that has better than average mass transit. FWIW the smaller town where my wife and I happen to own a small retail shop, there is NO MASS TRANSIT, no interstate bus service or train service. They just built new subsidized housing....about 2 miles outside the city limits on a high speed two lane road with no sidewalks, and minimal shoulders. If someone has a fast food job, Walmart, or a job at Lowe's Home improvements, they are looking at a minimum of 6-8 miles to get from home to the work place, if they have kids they need to transport to the nearest daycare it is 6 miles. Closest grocery store...5 miles. Why was the subsidized housing built that far out? NIMBY and land costs...

Mass transit and bicycles are great, but until the infrastructure is built to suit something OTHER than the all hail and mighty automobile there are going to be issues.

I agree that a car is an expensive method of transport, but that is what our society considers SOP. And the alternate choices in many areas of the country are extremely limited.

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Old 05-08-08, 04:47 AM   #18
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Hi guys! I live in subsidized housing on disability, and I find a bike and the bus just fine. You're right though about the whole not putting bikes as a form of transportation for the poor either. It seems cars are what they try to give families here, but considering how long it takes to get anywhere in this city because of how wide it is I can understand that. We don't have the bike infrastructure here yet and some areas don't even get buses!
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Old 05-08-08, 05:48 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I cried that day," Mitchell said of getting her car.
From the article:

>>>It now takes her about 30 minutes instead of more than an hour, she said, to get to her $8 an hour part-time job at the Boys and Girls Club of America. And now she can do something with her kids, she said, other than leave them at home once she manages to get them there, which she used to do on foot or by hitching rides.<<<<

Incredible.

Here's a woman with three kids and a parttime job that pays $8.00 dollars an hour driving a car she can't afford. Folks, if I was making that little money there is NO WAY I'm driving a car even if you gave me one for free. That poor family must be starving on that little bit of money.

What's wrong taking an hour to get to work? The average New York City commuter takes over an hour on public transit but we do it because it saves money! Folks, when you are broke like this woman, you don't use a car because you will remain in poverty. A part time job at $8.00 dollars an hour could be 12K a year but after taxes it's more like 9K. The car takes 3K leaving her with 6-7 K a year to live on.

That's not a job but a hobby!
I was thinking the exact same thing. If she is working for $8.00 per hour, SURELY she can find employment closer to where she lives. She can collect aluminum cans from dumpsters and make more money than that.

IF she is in a town where you have to drive 30 minutes to get to an $8.00 per hour job, then it is time to change towns.

Clearly, an automobile is a curse to someone with that little income.

This is the crazy thing about the way Americans think. They adjust their lifestyle to fit cars into it rather than changing their lifestyles so that they can live without cars.
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Old 05-08-08, 08:05 AM   #20
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I can remember the day that I found employment closer to home where I could start bicycling to work again. By reducing the usage of my SUV, and in today's money, I was basically given a two dollar an hour increase in pay above the higher wage that I was being given at the new job.
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Old 05-08-08, 11:00 AM   #21
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From the article:

I've said it before but a car is not a subsitude for college or quality skills. For some reason, the pro-motorist thinkers consider the car a way out of poverty. It's just the opposite. The article and the stats prove the car keeps the poor in poverty as their transportation costs make it impossible to improve their condition like save for higher education. Those who did find jobs (60%) only found low paying jobs and the vehicle will make sure they remain on the edge the rest of their lives.
I think the education thing is highly overrated. If every poor person in America received a college degree, then they would raise the bar so that you needed a PHD to get a decent job. The more people with college degrees, the more people with college degrees you'll see waiting tables and making lattes. While I agree that as an individual it might make sense to go to college to become more competitive, it really isn't a solution to systemic poverty. Considering that productivity increases have resulted in more profit for the ultra-wealthy and stagnant wages for everyone else, I think a little re-distribution of wealth is a much better answer. We can start by raising the minimum wage so that it is a living wage instead of an insult to working people everywhere.
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Old 05-08-08, 11:10 AM   #22
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I think the education thing is highly overrated. If every poor person in America received a college degree, then they would raise the bar so that you needed a PHD to get a decent job. The more people with college degrees, the more people with college degrees you'll see waiting tables and making lattes. While I agree that as an individual it might make sense to go to college to become more competitive, it really isn't a solution to systemic poverty. Considering that productivity increases have resulted in more profit for the ultra-wealthy and stagnant wages for everyone else, I think a little re-distribution of wealth is a much better answer. We can start by raising the minimum wage so that it is a living wage instead of an insult to working people everywhere.
I agree with that. A college degree is certainly no guarantee of career success.

I do think that technical college degrees are a great value today. I see a lot of folks graduating from tech schools and starting at $60,000 to $80,000 per year in specialty fields like electricity, construction, and welding.

Better yet, the tech schools allow people to freshen their education quickly, affordably, and conveniently.

I still meet people who say they hit a ceiling at work without a college degree and they go back to get a university degree. Surely, this is the case for many white-collar workers.

Still, I believe that a university degree by itself is over-rated for most graduates.

One thing is for sure, I would not want to be a 30 something years old in America with only a high school degree or GED or ...less than that. I have seen high school graduates with some work experience making $22,000 per year, but for most, that is the ceiling.
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Old 05-08-08, 11:11 PM   #23
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I take it you are up to date on the mass transit in the rest of the country?

I know in the large town near me it doesn't run much before 7am or after 8 pm, and has very limited routes. I would wager that it only serves an area that is accessible to only about 15% of the total population, and misses most of the industrial areas where the better paying jobs are. I also suspect in mostly rural states like Vermont it is as bad if not worse.

You happen to live in an area that has better than average mass transit. FWIW the smaller town where my wife and I happen to own a small retail shop, there is NO MASS TRANSIT, no interstate bus service or train service. They just built new subsidized housing....about 2 miles outside the city limits on a high speed two lane road with no sidewalks, and minimal shoulders. If someone has a fast food job, Walmart, or a job at Lowe's Home improvements, they are looking at a minimum of 6-8 miles to get from home to the work place, if they have kids they need to transport to the nearest daycare it is 6 miles. Closest grocery store...5 miles. Why was the subsidized housing built that far out? NIMBY and land costs...

Mass transit and bicycles are great, but until the infrastructure is built to suit something OTHER than the all hail and mighty automobile there are going to be issues.

I agree that a car is an expensive method of transport, but that is what our society considers SOP. And the alternate choices in many areas of the country are extremely limited.

Aaron
My family lives in Kentucky, and in the small towns in which they live, life without a car would be limited, to say the least. I'm not saying no one should have a car. I am saying, though, that if you live in or near a large city and you don't have a lot of money, trying to pay for owning a car is a good way to stay poor forever.

Which brings me to this rather obvious question: who in the hell designed a system that demands that many poor working people pay up to 1/5 of their income just to get to jobs that shamelessly exploit their labor? WTF? And why do people put up with this sh*t? In my entire life, I have never, ever lived more than 5 miles from my work, even when I lived in rural areas.

And by the way, Seattle does have decent bus service, but compared to other large cities, our public transit is pretty underwhelming. Besides buses, we have virtually nothing. It's a nice place to ride a bike, though. If I'm going downtown, the bus works great. To other places, though, sometimes places that are 15-20 miles away, it's way faster to ride there.
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Old 05-08-08, 11:22 PM   #24
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Whenever a Libertarian candidate runs for office where I live, they invariably bring up this organization in debates. Not sure why.
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Old 05-08-08, 11:51 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
Whenever a Libertarian candidate runs for office where I live, they invariably bring up this organization in debates. Not sure why.
What organization are you referring to? And in what context?
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