Saturday, 29 November 2008

Cars and buses

by Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

I recently downgraded from a very large car to a small second-hand car and I have to say I am really enjoying the benefits of a smaller car - cheaper in petrol and easier to find car parking spaces.

Having said that, I still struggle with the concept of using my car so much. The city where I live is fairly young... and obviously designed with cars in mind. As a result, my city has been struggling with public transport ever since. As an example, I can drive from home to my work in 15 mins, one way. If I was to catch public transport, home to work would take me 2 buses and a total of 1 hour and 20 mins one way. This is a huge disincentive for me to catch public transport.

So for now, a smaller car is the best I can do. Recently, I have started to catch buses on weekend outings with the children. Without the pressure of having to get to somewhere, its actually quite lovely to catch buses and not have to worry about parking. I have also realised another benefit for catching a bus. On a bus, my children are exposed to a wider range of people than they normally do. Prior to our weekend bus trips, my children would be driven from place to place where they play with children who are pretty much from the same background/circumstance as them.

A bus is an entirely different matter. On the bus, my children are sitting right next to 70+ year olds, next to people who are mentally or physically disabled, next to people who are obviously from a very very different background to them. They learn to stand up to people who *need* to sit down. They learn that the person who can not see or walk can still get around by themselves. They learn that the young man with Downs Syndrome catches a bus to go to his job in the city every Saturday morning . They learn that the world consists of very different peoples.

I think its a good thing to normalise such things at a very early age. As my local government grapples with public transport infrastructure for a city built for cars, I have decided to continue catching buses when we can - the lessons we are learning have been well worth the "inconvenience".

Since I'm talking about cars on this post, I thought I might share this funny episode from "Top Gear" - smallest production car ever built: