Why I Loved My Car and Couldn’t Wait To Get Rid Of It
Guest post by Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria. Read more of Mayor Helps’ blog posts here!
Day to day, we are constantly moving through our city, whether we’re heading to work, to the grocery store, or making a social visit to see friends. We take care of everyday errands in and out of town all in the pursuit of finding a moment to ourselves and the reward of putting our feet up at the end of the day. When I owned a car, I was grateful for how it helped me run my errands and finish my tasks—but at the end of the day, I couldn’t wait to get of it.
Having immediate access to my car helped make most of my trips much smoother and less stressful than if I were, for example, trying to bike through downtown traffic with a full load of groceries and other parcels. It’s much easier to throw everything in the trunk of a car, switch on the radio and cruise home. But the perceived convenience of owning a vehicle versus the actual convenience became a sticking point for me. Sure, I was able to make that grocery trip within 15 minutes on a good day, but each trip is unpredictable and the environmental impact of the multiple short trips was starting to worry me.
After selling my car and switching to carsharing I’ve discovered that I can still have the luxuries that owning a car provides—freedom and spontaneity. So, while I loved my car, here’s why I couldn’t wait to get rid of it:
• My car held me back from a living a true multi-modal lifestyle. I’m already an avid cyclist and I use public transit—so having a car sitting in my driveway unused for most of the day was a constant weight on my shoulders. It was also far too tempting on rainy days or days when I was running late to hop in my car.
• The City of Victoria has a goal to become a 100% renewable energy city by 2050. We need to start effecting change now to achieve this goal and switching to shared vehicles is one action we can take. Of course, many people rely on their cars for their livelihood and are understandably not in the position to take this step yet. But if you are, I’m glad to say it is possible and you’ll be making a contribution to Victoria’s—and to the world’s—future.
• To be honest, owning a car is a burden. Repairs and ongoing maintenance costs add up over the years along with rising fuel prices, and when you don’t have guaranteed parking, it can make what was supposed to be a quick trip longer and more stressful. For example, the holiday season is approaching and parking Downtown Victoria will be pushed to its limit. To help alleviate this pressure, we’ve partnered with the Downtown Victoria Business Association on the #ArriveAndShop campaign—a great way to start reducing your reliance on your own vehicle and look for other ways to get downtown and support our local business owners.