We parked our car for the winter. Why? Well, when we stopped to think about it, our present vehicle on winter roads felt like a hazard and trying to dig out our car after each snowfall was strenuous and exasperating. So, we decided doing a little walking and hopping on a bus now and then might not be such a bad idea. We parked the car at a relatives and bid adieu to a symbol of North American independence, freedom and prosperity.
What can I say? So far so good. Generally getting around on the bus is quite easy, especially since we don’t have children and live quite centrally. There are a few locations that have been a bit of an inconvenience, but so was digging, indeed sometimes pushing, the car out of a snow bank. Another benefit is that it forces us to plan our time a little differently. Our immediate neighbourhood has become even more important as walkable access to amenities has been key. We have saved money on fuel and entertainment as we don’t just jump in the car, head clear across the city to some restaurant. Instead we think a little more critically about how much time it will take and if it is worth it, often opting to cook a nice dinner at home or explore places nearby. We have saved time, money and our lives have become less hurried, not to mention the obvious “green” benefits.
The Problem? Getting outside the city. Some of our family members live outside the city limits which makes seeing them considerably more difficult. There is not one train, tram, bus or collective transportation option of any kind available to us to get outside the city, which is a real shame; a flaw in the Canadian transportation system to be sure. Instead we are left politely asking pitying relatives to lend us a ride which leaves us feeling apologetic. At the same time it leaves us feeling shafted by the North American system which forces us to rely on individual vehicles. It was never a problem getting out of the city anywhere in Europe, a train was always ready to take us almost anywhere, even small obscure towns. Here in Canada however, the reality is altogether more saddening.
Solutions? Build an affordable train system, efficient enough for daily use by both commuters and visitors. Until that happens however, perhaps we will have to look into the car sharing system I have heard rumours about. Any helpful suggestions are welcome.