Thursday, October 20, 2011

Car vs. public transportation

Once upon a long, long time ago I had a car.  Wherever I wanted to go, my car would take me there quickly and efficiently.  Since coming to Canada I have to rely on public transportation and it sucks.

Not only do I miss driving, not having a car limits my traveling possibilities.  Most of the time I’m fine with taking a train or a bus, as it gives me the chance to read while getting from A to B, but today I do miss having my own wheels.  

Last Tuesday I went for an interview at a law firm.  The lawyer who interviewed me called me this morning, letting me know that she had gone with another candidate but that she was so impressed by me that she referred me to a colleague of hers.
I was a little disappointed, having missed the job I interviewed for, but it seemed that when one door closed a window opened.  Being referred by a lawyer to another lawyer had to be a good sign, right?

When I received the lawyer’s email, inviting me for an interview I was all geared up, I could just feel it in my bones that this was going to work out.  Unfortunately, there was a snag.

In the signature line of the lawyer’s email I noticed her address … oeh, all the way out west.  When I Googled the address and queried how to get there, it turned out I would have to take two trains and two buses.  Oh no, that was just too much trouble. 

I don’t mind taking the train to get downtown, millions of Torontonians do it and we’re used to it.  I don’t mind taking the bus for short distances.  But taking two buses in addition to two trains … no, not doable.

Years ago I did a temporary assignment for a hospital.  By car it would have taken me 10 – 15 minutes to get there, but having to rely on public transportation it took me 1,5 hours because I had to take no less than three buses. 

It was the middle of winter and I remember standing by the side of the road, waiting for the bus, freezing my butt off while slowly but surely getting covered in snow.  I vowed there and then that when this assignment was finished I would never take on another one that required me to take a bus.

Commuting by train is less of a hassle.  Not only do subway stations give shelter from the freezing cold in winter and the scorching sun in summer, there are more trains than there are busses.  Subway trains arrive on average every 3 – 5 minutes.  Busses on the other hand can take as much as 15 – 30 minutes to make an appearance, with the chance that a bus is full in which case a commuter has another wait.

When I see cars going by I miss the days that I was able to drive from here to there.  I didn’t have wait for trains or buses to arrive, I knew more or less how long it would take to get me there, I was warm in winter and cool in summer and I could listen to music and sing along with Bon Jovi.

I can still listen to Bon Jovi on my iTouch, but singing … no, that would be pushing it.


  1. I have a car sitting outside my window I haven't been able to drive in over two years. See, if you were here you could use it. We do not have public transpo. Well, there is a Ghetto bus, but where it goes ... nobody knows and you do not want to go on there as a SWF.

  2. Can't you sell the car? Or make it a rental for those who need an occasional ride?

  3. Good blog post, Conny. Your situation shows that cars are not a luxury item, but a necessity. Without one your options become limited, even if you live in a large metro area with public transportation.

  4. From what I've heard, those with a car have complaints too Diane. They're stuck in traffic during peak hours and envy those gliding by on the train. It would seem both transportation options have positive and negatives sites.

  5. Conny, it's not very visually appealing. People here are spoiled and want shiny SUVs.