First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

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horizon
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby horizon » 13 Apr 2012, 2:06pm

Mrs H is going to Exeter tomorrow from Looe by train. 60 miles, £8.50 return. 1.5 hours to read the newspaper, have a coffee. Had I travelled with her, £17.00 return. Unfortunately two or more people travelling by car usually works out cheaper than the train but even for two people 120 miles @ 45 ppm is £54 plus parking. I would also say that there is a huge difference between responsible low usage ownership (i.e. yours) and high usage ownership.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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horizon
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby horizon » 13 Apr 2012, 2:07pm

Reigncloud wrote:Many of the themes in this thread are quite nicely summed up here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/ ... commuting/

Admittedly an American perspective, so probably starting from a 'lower' (more car-addicted) situation. Good hard lesson on benefits of giving up the car. He's also got a number of other posts along this theme as well if you care to browse.

My view: massive congrats to the OP and best of luck. I can see this becoming a bit like AA: 'HI my name's Bob and I've been car-free for five yars now...' :)


Great link.
:D
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

karlt
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby karlt » 13 Apr 2012, 2:14pm

Mick F wrote:We're not car free, and I see no point in trying to be.

If we lived in a city or large town, no doubt we could get about by public transport - do shopping etc. As we don't, and public transport (what there is of it) doesn't come along our road, we use a car. We NEED a car. We're not addicted to it, we actually and truthfully need a car!

We use the train to go to the Big City, we use a train to go on longer journeys too. We wouldn't even consider driving up the M6 again to visit Lancashire and relatives. Consequently, our car use is local now.

We drove to Exeter airport to take a flight out to Majorca last week, then drove home again after the holiday. 60miles each way and we had to be at the airport for 4.30am. We could have taken a taxi, but it would have cost nearly £100 to get us there, and we could have taken the train to get us home. Instead we used about 3gals of petrol and spent £50 to park the car.

No contest.


Conversely, with three children, any trip by train is likely to be far more expensive, if the train goes where we need to go. Hence our car tends (apart from ferrying me to work three days out of five) to be mostly long distance (i.e. 20+ miles). Do we "need" the car or those journeys? Only in the sense that the kids "need" to see their grandparents from time to time, go on trips etc. - something I'm not willing to deprive them of out of an idealistic objective of being car free. Hence my earlier point that "need", in this context, really needs a "in order to..." clause to follow it.

I'm not sure the focus is ideally placed on "do you really need a car" - not how things are at the moment with a society largely organised around assumptions of access to a car. A better focus might be "is this journey really best done in the car?" - hence catching the half a mile down the road to get a loaf of bread etc.. You could, IMNAAHO, achieve a lot in this direction by moving more of the cost of motoring onto the variable per mile side rather than the fixed costs - abolishing VED and raising the duty on fuel would be a start there. There are other possibilities - MOTs every 15,000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first; insurance far more variable on total mileage. As things are, asking the majority of people, especially those with children, to give up having a car altogether is pretty futile.
Last edited by karlt on 13 Apr 2012, 2:29pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mick F
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby Mick F » 13 Apr 2012, 2:24pm

Yes.
Singing off the same hymnsheet here!

The train to Exeter is indeed as Horizon has stated. The trouble with our journey was that we needed to be at the Airport so early. Had we had a later flight, we could have let the train take the strain and used the shuttle bus to the airport. We could of course have gone up the previous evening and stayed over, but when you look at the costs involved, the car wins hands down.

Meanwhile, we still had to get the cat and the parrot to the kennels up the road. How could we have done that by bus? :D
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby meic » 13 Apr 2012, 2:31pm

The issue of the price and inconvenience of "public" transport shows why people use cars instead of them. I too use the car because I cant afford train prices and they dont come any where near my house etc etc. I have kids to transport too.

However, I cant say that means I need a car. If it wasnt for the ridiculously low price paid for diesel, I would overcome these difficulties.

I do succumb to the combination of financial and convenience advantages that it offers me but I dont delude myself into believing it is right or justifiable.
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karlt
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby karlt » 13 Apr 2012, 2:33pm

horizon wrote:
Reigncloud wrote:Many of the themes in this thread are quite nicely summed up here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/ ... commuting/

Admittedly an American perspective, so probably starting from a 'lower' (more car-addicted) situation. Good hard lesson on benefits of giving up the car. He's also got a number of other posts along this theme as well if you care to browse.

My view: massive congrats to the OP and best of luck. I can see this becoming a bit like AA: 'HI my name's Bob and I've been car-free for five yars now...' :)


Great link.
:D


Some good points, but he talks about moving home or job as if it were as simple as buying a new pair of shoes. I've been trying for the latter for years; nothing yet.

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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby kwackers » 13 Apr 2012, 2:41pm

karlt wrote:Some good points, but he talks about moving home or job as if it were as simple as buying a new pair of shoes. I've been trying for the latter for years; nothing yet.

I've a pair here you can have...

karlt
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby karlt » 13 Apr 2012, 2:44pm

kwackers wrote:
karlt wrote:Some good points, but he talks about moving home or job as if it were as simple as buying a new pair of shoes. I've been trying for the latter for years; nothing yet.

I've a pair here you can have...


You knew what I meant. ;)

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horizon
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby horizon » 13 Apr 2012, 3:13pm

Mick F wrote:Meanwhile, we still had to get the cat and the parrot to the kennels up the road. How could we have done that by bus? :D


This is a serious thread (and I for one appreciate the putting of both sides of the argument) but there are still delightful moments of light relief.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby Mick F » 13 Apr 2012, 3:35pm

Thanks :lol:

Although the "cat and the parrot" bit was amusing, it is also serious. The kennels we've used for years on the slopes of Kit Hill are run by a wonderful - though dotty - lady. She'll house any pet for you whilst you're away. We happen to have a cat - and we happen to have a parrot!
Mick F. Cornwall

reohn2
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby reohn2 » 13 Apr 2012, 5:23pm

RickH wrote:The choices about cars are not necessarily personal ones - sometimes it is more the choices that society in general makes & the consequent expectations, greater mobility by means of personal car use being one of them. Sometimes people are conditioned to simply ignore the alternatives that are available to them - it still surprises me the number of people who think cycling 5 miles is a really big deal.

And finally, in an attempt to lighten the mood a little...
moment's silence.jpg


Rick


Now that I can get along with :) :) :)
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby reohn2 » 13 Apr 2012, 5:59pm

CREPELLO wrote:
reohn2 wrote:Or wear any man made fibres,use the train,or the toilet,or buy food from abroad,etc,etc.
Its all very well to point the finger because something doesn't suit our particular view of the world.
The car is largely responsible for making road transport one of the biggest polluters in the UK...
Long-term exposure to particulate pollution, largely from road traffic, is shortening the lives of as many as 200,000 every year, according to a government advisory committee.

from The Ecologist http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_r ... in_uk.html

I'm constantly aware of what my other activities induce on the environment and aim to understand and reduce their impact, mainly through buying less and better informed choices. But it's the car that has the most profound effect on social fabric and the environment. Energy inefficient housing is another biggy, but that's another conversation, probably a different forum even.

So all those other consumer choices matter, but if we could properly address transport issues in the UK, we'd be a long way towards a fairer, less consumer driven culture. The car is literally the biggest driver (sorry :roll: ) of this culture, because it affects so many of our choices. It also affects planning decisions and government policy in a wide range of policy areas such as NHS and schools for example. This is not a good situation to be in :( .


The car is also one of,if not the most,revenue raisers(is that a real word?) its also been the cause of smooth tarmaced roads,so lets first count our blessings.
It seems to me what we've done,instead of the car working for us,we work for it and become enslaved by it.Its a tool to be used for a job,the problem is its become the be all and end all,sex symbol,status symbol,battering ram,you name it.
We've willingly gone down this road to the exclusion of ther more sensible options,because of what was promised by it,now we're in danger of killing the golden goose.
We are a stupid,stupid species whilst at the same time being the cleverest,though not the wisest species on the planet.
So I'm agreeing with you.
Up thread indiscriminate car use has been mentioned,I agree with that sentiment but if we think everyone will suddenly begin to cycle journeys less than say three miles it ain't going to happen.
The answer is Public transport run as a service,but the government will loose revenue if that's implemented.
That then leaves the only other option,necessity becoming the mother of invention,indiscriminate car use will only stop when people can't afford to jump in the car indiscriminately,because it'll cost too much,with the best will in the world it's all down to economics.
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby CREPELLO » 13 Apr 2012, 9:22pm

reohn2 wrote:The car is also one of,if not the most,revenue raisers(is that a real word?) its also been the cause of smooth tarmaced roads,so lets first count our blessings.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it a campaign by cyclists (perhaps one of the first of the CTC) that successfully lobbied government for tarmac'd roads?

It seems to me what we've done,instead of the car working for us,we work for it and become enslaved by it.Its a tool to be used for a job,the problem is its become the be all and end all,sex symbol,status symbol,battering ram,you name it.
We've willingly gone down this road to the exclusion of ther more sensible options,because of what was promised by it,now we're in danger of killing the golden goose.
We are a stupid,stupid species whilst at the same time being the cleverest,though not the wisest species on the planet.
So I'm agreeing with you.
Up thread indiscriminate car use has been mentioned,I agree with that sentiment but if we think everyone will suddenly begin to cycle journeys less than say three miles it ain't going to happen.
The answer is Public transport run as a service,but the government will loose revenue if that's implemented.
That then leaves the only other option,necessity becoming the mother of invention,indiscriminate car use will only stop when people can't afford to jump in the car indiscriminately,because it'll cost too much,with the best will in the world it's all down to economics.
The day fast approaches
Yup, totally agree.

Interesting point about necessity. Invention is a beautiful thing, whether it's a new mechanical device or a new way of doing stuff. Those who are car-less certainly have to be more creative in how they arrange their lives. More resourceful.

But then there is another layer to this creativity which can come about from constantly re-evaluating an activity. Some of us experience it in our cycling activities; eg, finding ways of making it more efficient.

The car driven culture doesn't bring out this creative approach in most people because everything is laid out for you. All you have to do get a result is get in the box and drive. So millions do so, resulting in this homogenous behaviour, giving rise to traffic jams, pollution and the rest.

And you can see it in our politics and gov'ments approach to dealing with the thorny transport issue. Nobody really wants to take any risks, so we get stalemate politics. You can see that with the global economic problems and climate change policy but it shows in transport too.

How many times have we said/read on here that if the gov'ment would only spend a fraction of what they spend on the big projects (HS2, 2x aircraft carriers, Trident.....) on some serious cycling infrastructure, we could all reap the benefits, cyclists and non cyclists alike.

That takes courage and conviction and it takes creativity and vision (thinking outside the box). So it would seem that mother neccesity will only come around and bear us the gift of invention once we are really struggling.
Peak oil would see to that, but I worry that the big interests of tar sands, shale gas and nuclear would be determind that we should all carry on being drip feed the diet that has made western society what it is today.

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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby reohn2 » 13 Apr 2012, 9:36pm

CREPELLO wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it a campaign by cyclists (perhaps one of the first of the CTC) that successfully lobbied government for tarmac'd roads?

Lets be reasonable.Yes it was but do you think we would have the road infrastucture we have without the motorvehicle irrespective of who kicked off?

So it would seem that mother neccesity will only come around and bear us the gift of invention once we are really struggling.

That's how I see it too,because the majority drive,its become the norm in a very short space of time.It could be reversed in the same timescale.

Peak oil would see to that, but I worry that the big interests of tar sands, shale gas and nuclear would be determind that we should all carry on being drip feed the diet that has made western society what it is today.

Remember what I said about economics?

I'm just telling it like it is,nor do I disagree with you.
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Re: First day of NOT owning a car tomorrow

Postby CREPELLO » 13 Apr 2012, 10:01pm

reohn2 wrote:Remember what I said about economics?

I'm just telling it like it is,nor do I disagree with you.
Yup, I see your point.
reohn2 wrote:The answer is Public transport run as a service,but the government will loose revenue if that's implemented.
I can see that governments (the world over) would seek to pursue economic growth at all costs, no matter how unsustainable, because besides benefits to the politicians friends, it increases the revenue to the treasury.

There is still some potential for a progressive green taxation policy to address these issues. Tax the polluter and tax the land owner come to mind, killing several birds with one stone. But that would be too sensible compared to the massive task of stimulating exponential economic growth again. Which is what government and most people want and expect to happen.