With gas prices soon to reach $4 a gallon, Peter and I are happy to explore alternatives to driving. Peter’s move to offices downtown has certainly helped. This morning, he biked to work on a route that’s mostly car-free and only took him 35 minutes.
Biking is absolutely the best way to go, but unfortunately, Kelly’s outgrown the bicycle seat she rode in last year. I seriously thought about buying a bike trailer for her to ride in. I could get one on Craig’s List for as little as $40, but I wouldn’t be able to use it for enough miles to make it pay for itself, and honestly, she’s probably too big for that, too. And she’s still not trustworthy enough on her own bike for me to let her ride behind me.
So there’s bus and light rail, but those cost money, and more often than not (especially since I have a fuel-efficient car) taking them costs me more than the cost of the gasoline I burn. The cost for a one-way fare on public transit is $1.75, with a day pass costing $5, and most of my trips by car cost less than that. Well, we’ll still take light rail downtown, since it also spares us from having to pay for parking and it’s fun to ride in a trolley. And just out of curiosity, I tried riding the bus to Neil’s school the other day. Our public transit authority has actually made some smart changes in routes recently, so, though the bus is a further walk from my house, it runs more frequently, making it a more practical option. And to my pleasant surprise, I found out they’d classified the route so that a one-way trip was $1 for an adult, and 50 cents for a child. It’s still more than I’d pay for gas to the destinations I’d want to take along the route, but it’s close enough that I may ride again.
My only other option is walking. This can be particularly difficult when Kelly’s doing the walking too. She’s a diligent walker, but she likes to take lots of breaks to sit and explore. This is great for hiking, but not so great when you have a destination you need to be at at a particular time. One car-less day though, I put her in a wagon and pulled her to Neil’s school and back. The walking took up almost 2 hours, but Kelly loved riding in the wagon so much she had a fit when I used the car for the same trip the next day.
I’ll be trying out all my options over the next month. I made a goal to spend $100 or less on gasoline this month, which seems realistic, which even at the $4 a gallon rate buys me about 714 miles of driving in my car. I miss being able to bike easily, I wish transit fares were cheaper, and, sure, I wish gas were cheaper too. But I have to deal with things they way they are and see what I can do.