Living in New York, you hear people complain about the New York City subway system on a regular basis. Some of the gripes are well-deserved. During the summer the stations are hot. In the winter they’re cold. There are frequent delays. Sometimes you get stuck on a train. Sometimes you have to wait for several packed trains to pass before you can squeeze yourself onto a car. And sometimes the trains are so crowded you are forced to be more intimate with strangers than you would otherwise like.
Owning a car in a big city is often nothing but an expensive aggravation. Car ownership has long been viewed as the ultimate form of independence and freedom. In reality, however, automobile ownership offers the opposite. The US is largely built around auto travel. As a result, we are forced to make substantial (and rapidly depreciating) “investments” in cars, sit in traffic every day, and pay for never ending maintenance, insurance, gas, tolls, parking, and other fees. We do all this just to get around. If the financial costs weren’t enough, we are also saddled with a number of health, safety, and environmental issues as a result of our reliance on cars.
While getting rid of the car may be practically impossible for most Americans, residents in many cities have the benefit of being able to get by on foot and with public transportation. These lucky city dwellers should consider their alternative options and lose the car!