I am a Ford girl. My second vehicle was my parents’ forest green Aerostar that I named Betsy. When Betsy decided to permanently hate the cold weather, I had to trade her in for my 2010 Ford Focus. This vehicle doesn’t have a name yet, but Billy Jo is in the running.
This newer car has taken me to Michigan time and again the past three years, in addition to trips to New York City, Washington, D.C. and my parents’ little city of Wilkes-Barre. It has held two heavy bicycles and drove all the way down to Damascus, Va. and back again. (It has the scars to prove it.)
However, my fiance’s Saturn isn’t as nice and reliable. Apparently it has one of the hardest engines to fix, and that was ready to go less than a month ago. Now it is the electrical system. Oh, and he has three months left on his loan for this clunker.
So, this past Friday, I was once again stranded without a car. (The fiance works in Harrisburg.) This is when I counted my lucky stars I live in downtown York and it has a bus system.
According to an article by Workforce: “Nationally, the average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by people ages 16 to 34 dropped 23 percent, to 7,900 from 10,300, between 2001 and 2009, according to the federal government’s National Household Travel Survey.”
And for another fun fact: “Today, only 22 percent of drivers are 20-somethings or teenagers, down from a third in 1983, according to a 2011 study by the University of Michigan.”
We might be a cheap generation or a broke generation, but are we the carless generation?
Out of my four best friends, only one does not own a car, but her husband does and they pay a pretty penny to park it (They live along the Hudson on the New Jersey side.)
The city looks a lot different from the seat of a Rabbit Transit bus than it is from my easily accessible Focus. My life looks a lot different, too, as clothing choices change, food must be prepared and dragged to work, and my legs get an intense workout from trekking across the West Manchester Mall parking lot. (Hey, Rabbit Transit, can you drop me off in front of the YDR office?)
I have biked to work before, (thanks to my co-worker Stephanie Reighart) but when it is this cold and it gets dark so early, I don’t trust that mode of transport. I can get home in 30 minutes on my bike and 15 minutes via my car (it is 4 miles one way.) Walking? Out of the question, because that will take nearly an hour and that wind is bitter. (Though, props to Tom Barstow, news editor for the night news digital department, for walking to work during this past summer!)
So, it is the bus I take. And I don’t mind, most of the time, because I know that Billy Jo will be back in her parking spot later that night, ready for me to use.