By Micheline Maynard
People are cutting back on driving, and many are giving up their cars all together. We’ve told some of those stories here on Curbing Cars, like Andrew Hartford in Austin, Texas, and Lauren Steele, in Columbia, Mo. Now, one of our Curbing Cars readers wants some help in deciding whether she should keep her car, or cut the cord.
Her name is Anne (she asked us not to use her last name) and she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ann Arbor has an extensive public transportation system, and it’s also a very walkable city. But it gets its share of snow and ice, and some parts of the city aren’t as accessible by transit and foot.
Here is Anne’s story (and that’s her 1998 Honda Civic above). Once you’ve read it, please send Advice For Anne to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publish your responses and Anne will tell us what she’s decided.
“I have a 98 Honda Civic and I believe it will be good for another year or two, but you never know. I replaced the brake lines last month, as the brakes went out on me. I walk a lot and take the bus a lot.
I am thinking of not replacing it with another car. I do not know that I can afford another car. Also, I like the amount of walking I do and would like to increase that. I am 62 years old.
Ann Arbor has a good bus system for the size of our town. A car is a huge expense when you are living on a limited budget or really, for anyone.
I can take the train or plane to visit my family. I live near grocery stores and am a 50 minute walk from downtown. There are times when I need a car, and maybe I will join Zipcar, but there isn’t a Zipcar on my side of town yet.
If friends drive me, I would pay for lunch or gas or do something to accommodate them. My neighbor even suggested we share his car but that would be expensive, also. I have a good friend who is 73 and does not own a car and she does very well and is very fit from all the walking she does.”
What would you suggest Anne do? Can she get along in a Midwest college town without a car? Or do you think she should keep her wheels?
If you’ve given up your car, please let us know any tips for you have for Anne to prepare to live car free. And, if you know some ways she can cut down on her car expenses, feel free to suggest those, too.
Please send Advice For Anne to our email address: email@example.com. We’ll publish your responses and Anne will tell us what she’s decided.