Friday, June 29, 2007

Free Ride on CDTA -- act NOW

Yesterday this article was printed in the TU- A free ride for at least one day.
Even those of us already riding qualify --excellent! Why not ride for free for a day? If you're interested, you need to move fast on this. The article in the paper states:

Commuters have until Saturday to participate online at or through the mail.

I'll need to find out how many folks sign up, and what I'd really like to know is whether those who try the bus will be converts to CDTA after their day of free riding.

I'll tell you, I'd like to get one of these free rides for my daughter. This week, I've been taking her on the bus to the babysitter's each morning since school is out and she's not thrilled with the concept of walking (that's putting it mildly). At a dollar per ride, the bus fare adds up quickly.

Well, look at this! A little visit to the CDTA website -- a couple of clicks, and this seems like a GREAT DEAL if your child will be riding the bus regularly. $17 for two months of riding. Will I take my daughter on the bus more than 17 times between July 1 and August 31? I've got to do the math. This is her last week at the babysitter's, then it's a few days of winging it until it's on to camp in the walkable neighborhood... so, this deal may not be worth it for me. But, I'm glad to see it's an option. I wonder how well this has been publicized?

I've had some great experiences taking the bus. As someone who always loves a deal, I've gotta say, that every time I swipe my little 7-day pass, I get a warm fuzzy thinking about how that $44 I laid out for my 7-day monthly bus pass is getting put to good use. Today I'll have to remember to purchase my July pass, so I can get the full value in case I want to take a ride this Sunday, the first of the month.

I've also had some mildly irritating and some extremely frustrating experiences on the bus, and if you come back, you can read about that soon.

Until then...think about that free ride, maybe I'll see you on the bus!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's easy to talk the talk

It was a sunny Sunday in May, and the 1993 Volvo just didn't want to go. The car had a temperamental history. Seemed to stop working for no apparent reason every once in a while. At least this time it was in my driveway, and not stuck in the Price Chopper parking lot, as it had been at least once before. I try to look at the bright side.

Gas prices had been rising. I'd been running my mouth about the planet, recycling, walkable neighborhoods, fossil fuels and the future. Feeling guilty every time I drove someplace that I really could walk to, or that was an easy bus ride away...places like my office, my daughter's school, the co-op.... So, rather than call AAA or a friend for help, it seemed the timing was right to venture out without a car.

I grabbed the two Sunday papers sitting on the front porch, and walked the healthy mile to the Muddy Cup for a relaxing Sunday morning read. It almost felt like the old days, the days before I was a Mom, when I had so much choice about how to spend my non-working hours, and would often enjoy Sunday mornings reading the paper in my neighborhood coffee shop.

It really was a beautiful spring morning. The air felt great, and I was proud to be using my neighborhood sidewalks.

After spending some leisurely time lounging and looking at the paper, I realized that time was ticking. My free time was actually limited-- and groceries needed getting.

Grocery shopping without a car is doable. I know this. I've spent much of my life shopping without a car. In my hometown of NYC, we didn't hop in the car to go grocery shopping -- that would have been counter-productive. And when I first came to Albany as an undergraduate student, I didn't have a car for years. I walked to Price Chopper and the co-op back then, so I could certainly do it now. I chose to live, work and send my daughter to school all right here in the same city after all, and part of that reasoning was that I could indeed get around without a car.

One thing that's different though, is that I'm now shopping for more than just me, so, as a walking person, I'd need a way to transport those family groceries back home... I'd need to purchase a shopping cart. And so began the start of my spring to action experiment -- learning to walk the walk.

It's now been over a month, and though the Volvo has been fixed, I haven't been running it. It's in the driveway -- for emergency use only. I've been out walking, I purchased a 7-day bus pass for the month of June, I rented a car one weekend because I had to be a whole bunch of different places quickly ( places I wouldn't trust that Volvo to get to and back!) , and I'm adjusting to the fact that it takes longer to get errands done when you aren't driving... at least here in Albany.