I am definitely a car person.
Granted we do a lot of walking within our densely-packed downtown neighbourhood, but if I need to get anywhere for a scheduled appointment, or if I need to venture outside of downtown, I drive. At least I did, until recently.
Once upon a time, I used to be a public transit person, but that was before I bought my first car nearly six years ago. From that point until about three weeks ago, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve taken public transit: twice.
But recently, I discovered a love for public transit that I never knew existed. With 16 bus routes running within a block of our apartment, dozens more within walking distance, and rapid rail transit only a 10 minute walk away, transit is actually more convenient than driving for almost anything I want or have to do with the baby in tow. Here’s why:
Oliver is heavy — close to 16 pounds now. He can no longer be carried for long distances (heck, even short distances) in his car seat. If I’m going to have to do any amount of walking at our destination, I need to bring the stroller. If I drive, this entails strapping Oliver in his car seat and dragging the heavy car seat, the stroller frame, the car seat adaptor, the diaper bag and my purse down to the car, loading everything into the trunk (except Oliver ;)), driving to our destination, unloading everything, opening the stroller frame, attaching the car seat and adaptor, putting the diaper bag and purse in the basket… and then doing it all in reverse to go back home or to our next destination. It is a lot of work! I also loathe being stuck in city traffic with the baby screaming in the back seat, unable to do anything to soothe him.
Thus, since Oliver was born, I have found it easier to walk as many places as possible, since I only have to get him and all of his accoutrements in and out of the stroller once, at home. Transit was a logical extension of this idea, allowing me to venture farther afield. Since my time is a lot more flexible these days, I can generally afford to work around bus schedules and walking distances to get where I need to go. And since Vancouver’s public transit system is almost 100 percent wheelchair accessible, it is amazingly easy to use with a stroller.
Taking transit means that Oliver can fall asleep in his stroller and remain undisturbed for our entire outing. It also means that I can combine our daily walks with errands outside of downtown. And with the current prices of gas and parking, the $2.50 bus fare (which is valid for unlimited trips within a 90 minute window) is a veritable bargain.
So, I am a convert. I have reached the point where transit is, in most cases, easier and more convenient than driving — and I’m okay with that.