Leaving behind a little box of convenience

tte I’m thinking of getting rid of my car (not now during winter though, sod that for a game of soldiers, after the winter obviously).  I’ve been doing my sums lately and my car mileage to car cost ratio doesn’t add up economically wise.  I’m basically paying over the odds to keep myself warm and tucked up in bed for an extra hour.  So I may take the bold leap back into the heady world of public transport and trains.  I’ve never liked using trains though.

In massive stations, there can be multiple platforms with multiple trains on the same stretch of track.  The smaller stations I’ve been at are, at best, poor for sign postage.  It can be about as clear as mud where you should be to get the train you want.  I always have that pang of apprehension wondering if I’m on the right platform and always double check with someone – as if I’m not confident in my own reading ability…

In the past I’ve never lived/worked anywhere close to an accessible train route.  It’s only on the odd occasion when I’ve ventured out of the city without the brum brum that I’ve had to get the choo choo. 

Many moons ago I successfully made it cross country from Amsterdam to Brussels on a train and of all the times I’ve used a train (literally a maximum of 20 times) I’ve never got on the wrong one or had any mishaps.  So my apprehensions of the big metal tubes, that go dead dead fast with insane people, all herded like cattle into them, is at best…mental.

Buses never give me apprehension.  If you get on the wrong bus, it’s simple enough to get off at the next stop a few hundred yards up the road, or ask the driver to drop you at the lights.  You can’t exactly go up to a train driver and say “eh mate, can you let me off at the next junction?”! Instead you end up on some platform in the middle of nowhere with a trek and a (probable) long wait to go a few miles back to whence you came. 

The only thing I really use my car for is to get to work.  If I swapped to public transport *shudder*, it’d cost me a fraction of what I pay out now.  Moneywise it seems like a no-brainer.  So the metal box of convenience may be going and I’ll be stepping back into the gloomy, but brave, world of public transport again (only after winter though).


17 thoughts on “Leaving behind a little box of convenience

  1. Good for you! It’s not nearly as daunting as you’d think (I’ve never been able to drive and I make it around OK), especially if you live in or near a city.
    There are only two/three things for which it is better to have a car:
    1) Furnishing a house or buying big items
    2) Grocery shopping
    3) Impromptu daytrips to National Trust properties or similar.

  2. brennig
    I’d do it sooner but there is a bastard of a 10-15 min walk from station to work. I don’t mind the walking, it’s just the area I work in. Shit place to be in wintery/raining weather!

    Yeh it shouldn’t be too bad. it’s just the convenience of it all really. I’m not much of a house furnisher so we can cross that off the list! I reckon I could manage grocery shopping – albeit with a bit more of a hassle and there is always online delivery when I’m REALLY lazy!

  3. I’m lucky that i can walk to work, although in this weather it is a chore and a half.

    Id hate to live somewhere i’d have to ‘commute’. I was speaking to someone who travelled an hour and a half every day (there and back). That’s 3 hours travelling a day!

    That’s 3 hours drinking time lost….

  4. I really like the idea of not having a car but it wouldn’t work for me because:

    1. I like to shop
    2. We don’t have ANY public transportation(rural America)

    Good luck with your decision. I suppose you have all Winter to decide then. Perhaps by Spring you will have forgotten this post and just keep the car. Unless of course you decide to go to Oz.

      • Smidge
        It’s only really the weather thing that puts me off. I know what you mean about the commute, having to travel longer than an hour to work is just madness in my book. Imagine how much alcohol you can down in 3 hours, they’re missing out!

        We don’t have drive in theaters here. I thought they were only in the movies?!

        S. Le
        By spring it’ll be a bit more bearable to ditch the car – but I’ll have probably come up with another madcap idea by then. Still planning the Oz thing (which of course, the savings can go towards).

        I’m getting more bloggage ideas/posts in my head lately. Just too lazy to write them down!

  5. Depends where you live. I’m from Worcestershire, where public transport is infrequent, unreliable and DISPROPORTIONATELY EXPENSIVE (take note councillors!). But now I live in London where public transport is ridiculously frequent, obscenely reliable (strikes not withstanding, and even then there are always alternative routes) and disproportionately CHEAP (disclaimer: on buses/travel cards).

    If I lived in NW England, I’d probably struggle to be convinced to ditch the car, for all those drives in the country, and access to the rest of the country/out of town shopping centres… ?? But well done for thinking about it 🙂

    • ditheringheights
      Given the cold the past couple of days having a car is a god send! Admittedly I haven’t had to get public transport much the last few years, but I’m sure I’d live if I decide to ditch the car.

  6. I would love to take public transport! (coming from the girl who has to drive everywhere, as even getting a taxi has to drive from the next town over and charges you an arm and a leg to get to you).

    I’d gladly give up my car to live in London, but then again, I don’t have to do it everyday, so the magic and fun might wear off rather fast.

  7. I’ve never been a fan of trains. A friend once slept through his stop (yes he was drunk) and went to the end of the line. Got back on the next train and slept through again ending back in London. Yes he did it a third time and ended up in the sidings yard….

    • Lpeg
      Good point about it being a novelty. I think I like the idea of getting public transport…but only when it suits. Not at 7.30am on a freezing cold and wet December day (like today). Thank God I’ve got a car…for now!

      I’ve never fell asleep on a train but I have on a bus many times. Luckily I used to get on/off at the start/end of the route so never really ended up where I didn’t need to be. Although I can picture myself falling asleep Monday morning on a train and waking up in a different city.

  8. Where I live a car is a necessity plus I travel quite a lot where a bus or train wouldn’t go. If you seldomly leave the town and have reliable transport in front of your home do it.

    Otherwise I’d say look for a 1,2 Corsa etc. They will be cheap on insurance, road tax and would still get you anywhere when you want. I would go for a smaller car but in your case. Sell your car and go with public transport. Or buy a bike 🙂

  9. re: your comment on 28th November Cynical, which I have just fully read…

    How awesome that would be. The closest thing we have are movies on big screens outside in public i.e. trafalgar square, somerset house… ah beautiful in summer. I guess in winter it’s too cold/rainy for it to be a viable all year round game? If I was ever to operate a car park, that would totally be top on my list to install though. Revolutionise local councils from within! ha!

    New Bloggage thoughts:
    This IS something you miss out on. Using public transport gives me an extra hour in the morning for “Me Time”. I can use that to work but more often than not, it’s replying to emails on my phone or writing blogs. I keep a list of thoughts on my phone to develop when I have the time, lots of which are inspired by observations or experiences whilst on public transport. But again, it’s more of a marginal activity elsewhere than in London, so the benefit is perhaps more limited. The only restraint is when it’s busy trying to stop people reading over my shoulder, especially when the stories are a bit filthy!

    • ditheringheights
      Drive in movies would be brilliant. Although I don’t think theyd last long in my neck of the woods. The local teenage ninja’s would definitely make sure of that!!

      I should be more active on writing down my thoughts or idea for posts. Normally something happens and I’ll just compose the gist of a post in my head. However given I have the attention span of a 5 year old, by the time I come to write something, I’ve either forgotten or just can’t be bothered!
      I’d let them sneek peeks at the filthy stories and see what reactions you get – it’ll make the journey more enjoyable!

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