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Saturday, April 28, 2012

7 Reasons Not To Own A Car [Huff Post]



Margaret Thatcher earned the undying enmity of the world's transit users when she said (in her sexist and condescending way), that any "man who, beyond the age of twenty-six, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure."
Following the former Prime Minister's calculus, that makes me a loser of almost two decades' standing. But I'm not afraid to admit it: I ride the bus. What's more, I frequently find myself on subways, streetcars, light rail, metros, and high-speed trains. I've never owned an automobile, and though I'm no anti-car zealot (I belong to my city's car share program, and dutifully pay to renew my license every year) I'm proud to call myself a straphanger: somebody who relies on public transit for most of his or her urban travel.
I'm not alone. Half the population of New York, Toronto, and London do not own cars, and transit is how most of the people of Asia and Africa, the world's most populous continents, travel. In North America, the Millennial generation, who now outnumber the Boomers, are fleeing the 'burbs for old city centers by the millions, and have far fewer hang-ups about fare cards and bus passes than their parents' generation. (A recent survey found that half of American teenagers would now rather have a new smartphone than a new car. Makes sense: armed with a new iPhone or Android, they can download apps that will tell them exactly when the next bus or train will get to the stop.) Last year, ridership on the New York subway surpassed 1.6 billion, the most trips since the boom years after the Second World War. Meanwhile, though the U.S. population continues to grow, vehicle miles traveled, the most reliable indicator of automobile dependency we have, have been in decline for the last seven years.

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