Introductory Profile for Ariel Ky
- 1. Which of the following best describes you? Please check one.
x� I do not presently own a car though I have owned a car previously.
2. How long have you been either car-free or used non-automotive
transport as your principle means of transportation?
It's been just about a year since I last owned a car, but I've gone
without a car other times in my life off and on for a year or two
(about six times).
3. What inspired your decision to reduce or end your reliance on the
The decision has largely been motivated by the expense involved
withhaving an automobile as I've been unemployed with only occasional
temporary assignments.� However, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to
gain control of oil fields has also motivated me in the decision not to
get another car as I do not want to benefit from our country's
aggression and murder of people for this reason.� I also like keeping
my life free from the continual aggressive behavior of other drivers,
not that I can escape it entirely being a pedestrian.� I enjoy being
fitter from walking more and the freedom that walking gives to adjust
your pace as you desire.
4. If you owned a car and then gave it up, what process did you go
through to do so? (e.g., did you go through a process of gradually
using the car less and less, or did you give up using it all at once--
going cold turkey?)
Even before the engine of my 1987 car klunked last year, I did not use
it for transportation to work, taking the bus or walking downtown
5. What tools or factors have helped you the most in being able to
getaround without a car? (e.g., living close to transit, living close
to work, owning a folding bike, joining a car-sharing club or coop,
Fortunately, living in the city of Oakland, I have easy access by BART
to other cities in the Bay Area and can get around by public bus as I
need to.� I live in walking distance of four markets, Lake Merritt,
gardens, library, post office, community college, several ethnic
restaurants, city hall, stores, movie theater, and a swimming pool.
People have been very generous about providing rides also.
6. What, if any, factors have made it difficult?
The bus drivers do not keep to a schedule and often are not service
oriented towards passengers.� People in cars do not like to stop for
pedestrians crossing the street and have, on occasion, threatened me.
I feel that I have suffered a loss of status and I miss not being able
to offer other people rides.� I am not able to accept temporary
assignments in places that are not served well by public transit.� I
can't leave the city so easily when I want to get out in nature.
7. What effect has the way you travel had on the people around you,
including children, family, and/or friends? Have any of them changed
their travel behavior or relationship with cars as a result of what
My 17-year-old son rides his bike back and forth to his high school 1.3
miles from here and takes the bus when it's raining.� He has to get
himself to martial arts class now on his own.� I used to back him up by
dropping him off and picking him up when he was running late or it was
raining. Since that's no longer an option, he misses training more
often than he used to.
8. What are the advantages of being car-free and/or getting around
without using a car?
One of the advantages of getting around without using a car is that I
don't have the stress of navigating in traffic.� I can enjoy the
scenery when I am taking a bus or read.� I feel more a part of the
community and can engage people in conversations easily while riding
the bus.� The biggest advantage is that I walk more and am able to walk
much further than when I drove a car.� I don't worry about paying
parking tickets or finding parking spaces.� I've been enjoying the
flowers and trees a great deal along the streets where I walk,
especially now with spring coming.
9. What are the disadvantages?
The biggest disadvantage is shopping for groceries.� Taxis are
expensive and unreliable here.� I buy most of my groceries at the
Grocery Outlet just three blocks away, but carrying them home is
uncomfortable and awkward.� Sometimes I borrow a shopping cart
temporarily and push my groceries home.� Then I have to return it, but
that's easier than carrying many bags home.� I end up making a lot of
little trips and never having all that much food around.
Also I sing with a choir and am not able to get to many of our
performances without cadging a ride from someone.� I'm not as active in
the choir as I was when I had a car.
When I had a car, sometimes I'd drive from one community event to
another in the afternoon and evening, and sometimes three on the
weekend.� I have cut back considerably on how much I do because it's
more tiring to get out without my own car.� So I have slowed down my
10. Would you recommend car-free or "car-reduced" living to your
friends? Why or why not?
I do recommend this lifestyle because it makes life simpler and more
enjoyable in some ways on a daily basis.� I would also recommend it so
that we start making the transition from our car culture to a more
sustainable lifestyle.� Between television, cars, and the frantic pace
with which people carry on their lives, the loss of community and how
it sustains us is striking.
11. What differences does travelling without using a car make for you
in terms of time?
It takes more time to get places. �You have to plan well in advance if
you have a specific destination and timetable.� It frees your time in
other ways, though.� When I think about how many hours I must work to
pay several thousand of dollars for a decent car or the time involved
in repairing and maintaining an older, cheaper car and the many crisis
situations that inevitably develop which throw your life out of whack,
I am not willing to commit that much of my life to own a car.
12. What differences does travelling without using a car make for you
in terms of money?
In my apartment complex, there is a ground floor garage and verylittle
street parking.� Renting a parking space costs $55 monthly. Now I pay
$65 a month for a bus pass, though.� Usually I paid $35-40 a month for
car insurance, so I save on that.� As the car I had was good on gas and
I did not use it all that much, I could go through a month on 2-3 tanks
of gas, so I usually paid about $35-40 a month for gas. My car was paid
off three years before it was done in, so I didn't have car payments.�
Repairs were running high, though, between $600-$1200 annually, so I'm
saved that outlay.� Overall, there is some savings, especially if you
consider that I would probably have to make car payments if I get into
another car.� I'd rather take a trip to Europe with the money I might
use to get another car.�� I can always rent a car for about $60 for the
weekend with various specials, and I have done that three times in the
13. If you still use a car please share the general situation
affecting your use such as finances (share, rent, etc) how often, and
14. What role should automotive transport play in an overall healthy
and sustainable system of transportation?� Minimal.
15. Please share any other thoughts or experiences you've had as a
result of being car- free and/or using non-automotive transport.
Riding the bus with other people in the city and taking BART, I see a
lot of people looking downcast, tired and miserable, even soul weary
lately.� I feel that I am in touch with the pulse of people.� These are
not good times for our country.� We seem to have two classes of
people in the city:� those who drive and lead driven lives, and those
who do not drive who are worn out in other ways.� There is tremendous
arrogance among those who drive, especially people with the money to
drive new cars.�� We are a country growing more deeply divided between
those who have and those who do not.� The car culture is not a
These questions are derived from Katie Alvord's book "Divorce Your
Car". It�s a good read.
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