Okay, I swear this will be the last post (for awhile, anyway) about the joys of public transportation and the potential for saving hundreds of dollars by ditching the car. I just have to share a website I found, through the night job, of course! It's called 'The World Carfree Network', and it's an entire movement, begun in Europe ten years ago, to support government and citizen investment in alternate transportation options. The best part, they're holding the first U.S. conference ever, in Portland next week: 'Carfree: towards carfree cities'.
I'm hoping that events like this will convince not just big cities, but also suburban and rural areas, that public transportation is a worthwhile investment. I relocated from a relatively rural area two years ago in order to be in a location that provided ample bus and light rail systems, but I don't think everyone should have to move to a city to benefit from money-saving commute options.
I won't be able to attend, unfortunately, due to both my day job and my night job (I'm working six days a week for the foreseeable future), plus the fact that the registration fee is $440! Even by using my student status, I'd be paying $125 for the week. However, it appears that the conference will be broadcast over the internet at some point, so I intend to check out the video link for (hopefully) free access to the information presented at the conference.
In the meantime, for my rural and suburban readers, how about carpooling? This is something I could have done before I lived in Portland---but driving my car gave me such a feeling of independence (and gas prices were still low enough) that I just never followed up on the opportunities. Now that I'm relying more and more on public transportation, I get that same feeling of freedom by leaving my car in the garage. . . .