Friday, October 15, 2010

My Low-Car Challenge is Over! Upon Reflection...

Hi y'all, I did it!  My one month Low-Car Diet ended this past Tuesday.  Woo Hoo!!  I'm proud to say that I managed without driving my car for a month.  No cheating!

I want to take a moment to reflect on my experience for the past month.  First off, let's examine the numbers here.

During my one month challenge, I:
1) spent $159 on transportation.  This includes the cost of my weekend trip to Orcas Island.  My average cost of owning a car is about $378 per month.  If you do a simple math, you could see that I had saved $219 this month!!
2) made 56 trips on public transit!
3) traveled 10 miles on my bike.  I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't bike more... But this is more than I would've biked if I were driving every time I went to the grocery store.
4) walked 20 miles.  Now I'm impressed by this number.  Normally, I would walk down the short stairs from my apartment to my car, then the office parking lot to my office...  I say this is an upgrade!

Upon reflection, I feel one month went by very quickly.  This is funny because going places by public transit usually takes longer.  I also find it more relaxing to ride a bus or light rail than driving myself.  I notice a lot of folks texting or be doing something on their smart phones while riding, but I just usually zone out or close my eyes and rest. 

My biggest pet peeve about riding a bus has always been their being behind schedule on a regular basis.  Not even a few minutes late, but sometimes 10 plus minutes.  One time, my bus just didn't show up (I don't know what causes this...).  As a result, I have missed my connecting buses and was late to meetings a couple of times.  Although it's really annoying, this repeated lateness of transit has also taught me to just let go.  I have no control over this, don't fight it, just be ok with what's going on.  How Zen!!

Another effect that I didn't expect to have was I became keenly aware of how seasons change.  I always thought I was very much in touch with that sort of thing, but it really helped me to see, smell, feel it during this past month.  I remember one morning when the air felt extra crisp.  I notice more dried leaves on the ground as I hear them crunch.  Leaves on the trees along the city streets are turning colors.  Even on a beautiful sunny day, it no longer feels warm. 

I also feel very grateful.  For being able to live and work in a place where public transit provides services.  For being able to walk and ride my bike.  For having people around me who encourage me and support me to try different things (and not think I'm weird for wanting to try different things). 

"What are you going to do now?" Some of you may wonder.  My plan is to keep going Low-Car for as long as it makes sense.  When I say that, what I mean by that is I will keep riding public transit and avoid driving my car as much as possible.  I am going to look into changing my auto insurance policy so I could get the lower rate: when I hardly ever drive, it does not make sense to keep my current policy.  I'm not ready to sell my car at this point.  I want to see how Low-Car works for me for the next year or so.  At that point, I want to reassess and make a plan for the next step. 

With that, I'm ending my last blog post.  Thanks for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts for the past month!!


  1. Congratulations!

    It's super cool to see your statistics! Great work!


  2. you're an inspiration, yuko!!! i'll be tapping your wisdom of buses once i'm officially moved to beacon hill. i'd also like to use my car less. congratulations for completing a challenge that lots of us wouldn't have dared to start at all.