Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shopping for a car?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:13 PM

click to enlarge ashleybusstop1small.jpg

I'm gonna be honest here. I am close to giving up.

I've generalized the "year" several times, but it has actually officially been a year since I first stepped foot on the bus and began writing about my experiences. In the beginning, people would always ask if I had an allotted amount of time for this "experiment"... if I had chosen to "try" life without a car for a month, six months, a year.

I never did.

My thought was that I would be here indefinitely, living this "lifestyle" for as long as I could stand it or until I knew that it was time to buy a car. I've had ups and downs and frustration mixed with motivation and been equally as proud as I have been humbled, but the last few weeks have been taxing.

Maybe I can chalk this up to starting back at school and working too many different jobs, but I have come to realize how much easier my life would be with a car - how much healthier I would be, how much more sleep I could get and, most importantly, how much time I could have back in my day!

I spend far too many wasted hours in the City Market because a 3-hour break between work and class isn't enough time to go home and then back to school.

I spend far too much energy planning my days around the bus schedule, miss out on far too many things because I have to catch a bus, pay far too much money in (horrible and expensive - don't get me started) cab fare and make way too many sacrifices to justify.

I don't mean to be so negative, but the reality of life without a car means fewer trips to the grocery store, a whole day wasted to make it to one doctor appointment and the realization that I could probably have at least three or four hours of my day back if I had a car.

I don't like this.

Not one bit.

In my dream world, this "lifestyle" would be easy and convenient and actually make the most sense.

But not in Indianapolis.

Sometimes I get to this place. I don't often write about it, because I don't want to admit defeat. Most often, when I get ready to "drop the mic" so to speak, I meet a random person who recognizes me by my picture or I'll have a friend who comes through with questions about wanting to ride the bus and I get my motivation back. I'm still not giving up. Not yet. Especially not with as much excitement there is in this city about transit right now. But I'm close.

I've said it many times before, but transit is the topic (again) this week and this is enough motivation (for now) to hold off on car shopping. We have mayors from all over the state backing the Marion/Hamilton county transit system, we have "Transit Day at the Statehouse" coming up, it seems every day someone is posting on Facebook about their willingness to pay more taxes if it improved our transit system, we now have commercials on TV for the Indy Connect transit plan, our own Mayor (love him) recently held a transit rally and, the coolest of all, about five of my very own friends are now full-time bus riders. So cool.

I'm proud to live in Indy for many reasons, but, as it sits, I live in a city with one of the worst transit systems in the nation. Of this, I am not proud. I really, really, really do not get how people are still arguing over whether or not Indy needs public transit improvements. Please, take it from me, we NEED the bill to pass this year or we are gonna be left far, far behind.

Please consider, at the very least, being a part of the webinar, signing up for newsletters and joining us for Transit Day at the Statehouse and contacting your legislators to get the transit plans moving forward.

Somehow I thought that things would have progressed a lot further by now. Had I known that the last year would get us only this much closer to a legit transit system, I might have reconsidered selling my car. But I can see that people in Indy are ready for the bill to pass this year just by all the conversation and activity surrounding the subject in the last few months and especially the last few weeks and that gives me a confidence that will keep me off the car lots for a little while longer.

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Ashley Kimmel

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