COULD I LIVE WITHOUT MY CAR?
Ever since I was 18 in 1968 I have had a car. There was the old blue Ford Popular with three gears, that was my beloved first car named Daisy.
….the Triomphe Herald, The Fiat Panda(very bad car!) a green mini ( too near to the ground!)..a series of practical sturdy Russian Ladas, which we called Boris, which I loved.
Also a series of Toyotas and then Citroens.
As you can see I never went for the sexiest of cars, just for practicability. The Ladas were the best. Roomy for the family, always started on cold mornings, never broke down and you felt safe in them as they were so heavy and sturdy
I never used public transport till I got a BUS PASS two years ago, which enables me to go anywhere in the UK by public bus and within the Greater Manchester area by rail. This plus a senior rail pass for heafty discount on trains, has opened up a whole new world. I had to learn new schemas of understanding bus timetables, negotiating train stations and finding the right bus stops.
So between my bus pass, rail pass, my bike and (much to my daughters disdain!) my pull along shopping trolley, I don’t really use my car much. My annual mileage is less than 5000 miles.
This week, with petrol costing £1. 40p per litre (1 .66Euro) and my car tax due at £250 (297 euro) plus it was due an MOT (British safety certificate) and service £189 per year and car insurance at £549 ((653euro) per year. All this adds up to around (conservatively) £1700 (2.024euro) per year. …… I started to question if I really needed to keep my car, or was it a luxury I can no longer afford? £1700 buys a lot of taxis and car hire.
My current car has been in the garage for a couple of days, and I was due to collect it this morning by bike.. I awoke to find snow sleet and gales! Not the best weather for cycling or waiting at bus stops!….. had the vehicle gods had sent this as a warning?
But the car named Veronique, a roomy Citreon Berlingo, fits all the grandchildren in, is handy for the occasional camping trip, (which is why I bought this model in the first place). Fits my bike when it needs repair and is borrowed by the family for “tip runs” when they need to clear out their rubbish…and on days like today, when cycling is impossible and waiting at the bus stop is uncomfortable, it is good to have a car in the drive to just hop into. I don’t really want to buy a smaller car as it would not fulfil the above criteria.
So watch this space. What I have decided to do is to log my car journeys for the next six months and then decide if having the convenience of a car in the drive is worth the £1700 minimum it costs me.
Love from Bolton
Daisy, Boris, Veronique – I love that you named your cars! I've always thought that it's a fun idea but haven't felt that close to mine. Maybe it was self-protection so that I wouldn't feel guilty about selling them to other owners.I'll be curious to know what you decide about needing a car. I don't currently own one, although it's easy to get around with public transportation in Paris. Plus, Stephane has one for when we want to do trips outside of the city. We did try to live without one in Switzerland but I protested because it was too difficult to haul groceries and to make it up the mountains on a bicycle!Some friends who were just visiting from the States stopped in London to see their daughter and were shocked by the high price of gas. I've got to admit that I'm happy not knowing how much it costs in France!
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