Rider’s Block: Today is World Car Free Day and I drove alone

Today is World Car Free Day and I drove to work alone. FAIL. But how about you? Area buses are free today as part of Try Transit Week. Anybody catch one?

I have valid reasons for my bad behavior, but still I’m sad I didn’t participate in today’s events. I’m realizing this week more than ever just how easy it is to revert to my old bad habits when I’m under stress. I married Jonathan last Saturday and it’s been hard to get my routine back in order. I took Monday off to rest and I worked from home for a bit on Tuesday. Wednesday was my first full day back, and wanting to recoup all that lost sleep from the busy weekend, I slept in and drove alone. Today I was preparing to leave to catch the bus when I got a text from a co-worker. She needed to drive today and if I brought my car I could return some decorations she let me borrow. So I drove. I am stalwart in my decision to return to my beloved 700 tomorrow morning.

Despite my commuting setbacks this week, I did have the opportunity to talk about my job a LOT over the weekend. While doing my rounds at the wedding I found myself answering the question, “What do you do?” time and time again. My answer led to some interesting conversations about public transit. My grandmother, after hearing that I’m a fan of the bus and take one to work most days, chimed in with the experiences she had when even the small town in SC that we come from had bus service. Never having a driver’s license, Granny lamented that they shut down the buses when it seemed that everybody had a car. Jonathan’s grandparents told me about walking to the bus stop in High Point, NC to get to the grocery store. Other guests told me how much they enjoy using public transit in big cities when on vacation. Jonathan’s aunt said she’d taken her parents on the bus when they visited her in St. Louis but that the bus seemed scary to some of her other out-of-town guests. My best friend from 2nd grade told me that she likes to ride the Lynx in Charlotte, but is anxious about the bus. Most of the people I asked admitted they hadn’t thought to check into what’s available in their hometowns.

So what about you? I might have royally messed up my own Car Free Day, but I think I did some good work over the weekend. If you’re reading this blog, you probably have a good idea about the resources available to us in the Triangle. You know, but do your friends and co-workers? Have you told them? Tell someone you know that it’s Car Free Day and then tell them about how you make your bike or bus work for you. Even if you can’t go completely car free, take a stand and remind others that we have alternatives to driving alone. Start a conversation about transit. Happy Car Free Day, everybody!

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