By Bobby Johnson
Life has a funny way of providing insight into the next step to take in the journey. In April 2014, life provided me inspiration to try something different; so I sold my car and have been taking public transportation ever since.
Fortunately, our public transportation network is easy to learn, and fairly straight forward, so I quickly became acclimated to the system. With the addition of the Silver Line I can even make trips to Tysons and Reston; two of my favorite destinations in the area. I’ve found that nearly all of my favorite places to visit are accessible by public transportation. If the destination isn’t directly accessible via transit, then most destinations are with the use of Uber. For points farther away, AMTRAK has been extremely beneficial and enjoyable.
I grew up on a farm in central Virginia and we drove everything from ATVs to tractors and everything in between; so I loved to drive. When I owned a car I would often take spontaneous trips to the majestic Virginia countryside or visit one of the many wineries for an afternoon. Needless to say, I don’t do that now. In lieu of a long drive through the hills and valleys of Virginia I now take long walks on one of the well groomed trails and walking paths here in the DC Metro area.
For me, there are three major advantages to being car-free; first it is great exercise. I typically log somewhere between 12,000 – 20,000 steps per day. This is mainly because I take public transportation on a daily basis.
Next, I don’t have a car payment, which means that I also don’t have car insurance. The extra income allows me the flexibility to experience more of the world. Ironically enough I’ve done more travelling to points outside of Virginia without a car than I did when I owned a car.
And finally, I’ve noticed that I visit places that I would not have normally visited in a car. Recently, Metro has experienced delays, shutdowns etc. Due to the frequency of my Metro ridership, I get caught in a delay from time to time. When that happens, I don’t panic, I just exit the affected station and explore the neighborhood(s) above ground. I’ve discovered very cool areas that, until I became an avid WMATA user, were just dots on the Metro system map.
Two years into being car-free, I am enjoying the experience. I certainly plan on having a car again. However, I think I will continue to live without a car for the next couple of years.