I have been living car free since 2004, when I joined the Peace Corps. I sold my car and all of my things, packed my bags, and went on a grand adventure. Well, the car part is true enough.
When I moved to the nation’s capital in 2007, I decided that I would remain car free. Since then, I have I almost exclusively relied on Metro and Metro Bus to get me to where I need to go. I also have a Zipcar membership, a really awesome boyfriend with a car, my two feet, and now a Capital Bikeshare membership to help get me through the city.
I have been frustrated with Metro since I moved down to DC. It is expensive, the trains randomly break down, the trains are crowded and get off loaded, they lack AC in the summer, the escalators at the stations are usually broken, and the weekends are a nightmare with single tracking, closed stations, and poor communication. The bus system is slightly better because the buses are more-or-less on time, there are usually seats and the AC almost always works. However, the buses are subject to DC traffic jams, and like Metro, weekends are hell. Buses run every 30 minutes if they are even running.
Last Thursday was the last straw. A Metro ride that should have taken me 15 minutes lasted almost an hour and a half. I waited 20 minutes for a train, the train stopped at Dupont Circle for 20 minutes because of single tracking, then all Metro communications went down for 30 minutes, another 10 minute wait for single tracking and finally the 15 minute trip to my stop. Why didn’t I walk? Because it was after midnight, and a lone female walking 1.5 miles would make me the perfect target for armed robberies that are taking place in my neighborhood. Sadly, waiting was safer – I had to endure.
But it doesn’t mean I will be Metro’s victim. I decided to be Metro free for the entire weekend. Fortunately, Friday I was off from work which made the entire idea more plausible. I hung around my neighborhood and did not venture too far on Friday. On Saturday, my boyfriend walked 1.5 miles to dinner and back, whereas we would normally have taken the bus.
Today was the real test. I met some friends in Clarendon (almost 7 miles away), and I walked/biked home. Granted, the trip took 2.5 hours, but I got my exercise in, I got to chat with a good friend, and I got to practice my biking skills. 2.5 hours well worth it. 😀
Verdict – I liked being Metro free. Stay tuned for more Metro free weekends!
How do you get around your town?