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Can you survive without your car?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Halfhidden, Jun 28, 2009.

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Can you survive without your car?

  1. Yes

    27.3%
  2. No

    27.3%
  3. Don't Know

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. I don't have a car

    45.5%
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Can you live without your car?

    As an experiment Sparky and I have decided to try to live without our car. This will be the first time that I haven’t had a car in 27 years.
    When I was a child my parents had a car each. Looking back I can see how unusual that was. My earliest memories of the family cars are listed below:
    Austin A35
    Ford Popular 103E
    Morris Oxford
    Austin Cambridge
    Hillman Super Minx estate
    Austin Mini van
    Ford Escort MK1
    Hillman Avenger
    Talbert Sunbeam
    And a couple more that I cannot remember.
    My first car incidentally, was MK1 Ford Cortina (with Webber carburettors and a Lotus engine).
    So looking at the list of cars my parents had you can be forgiven for thinking that we didn’t walk too far. Basically I’ve not experienced life without a car. And looking through the older pictures here on Picture Penzance I wondered what it would be like without one.
    Now I know that some of you don’t have cars and survive, but the majority of you wouldn’t contemplate life without cars. So this experiment should be interesting.
    Despite the generous offer by the government to trade our car in and get £2000 discount on a new one, we opted to scrap our car even though it has a full M.O.T., climate control and multi CD player.
    First thing Tuesday morning the car will be collected and our experiment begins. I should add that I am keeping my motorbike, although that shouldn’t affect this experiment too much. Not exactly the best form of transport for a family of four.

    I will be adding in bits and bobs to update this thread so that you can track our progress. My question in this poll is Can you survive without a car?
     
  2. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    As a non-owner, non-driver, I would be interested in any response here.
    I have never owned a car nor owned a house - and - I am still alive.
    It can be done. Nor do I feel cut off from the rest of the world or from any of the so called conveniences of having a car.
    Walking .... Have Bus Pass and Railcard - Will Travel.
     
  3. symons55

    symons55 Moderator Staff Member

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    As I'm self employed I rely on a car/van, but as Treeve has pointed it's not impossible to live without one. It's only the boundary's we put on ourselves. I personally didn't have a vehicle until I was 16 as my Mother was a widow and never married again. But buses, trains and push bike got me anywhere I wanted to go. I would not like to add up the amount of money I've spent on cars, m/bikes, spares and repairs let alone the general running costs.
     
  4. P_Trembath

    P_Trembath The Best

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    There are times when I wish, with all my heart, that I did not have a car.
    There are other times when I have threatened to get one of those "Smart" cars, cheap to run, tax, and insure, and the best bit, only 2 seats, if only I could afford one.

    But, being realistic, I can not afford to be without a car. I live in Praa Sands, and my elderly Mother and her disabled twin Brother, my Uncle, live in Penzance. I also have a Daughter who suffers from agoraphobia, 2 children who have just moved to Penzance, and another 2 children still living at home. It is only my Wife and I who can drive in my family, and only have 1 car.

    Up until a few years ago, my Mother would walk down town to do her shopping, she is now unable to do this, so I take her shopping twice a week. My Uncle has a habit of falling down, so I quite regularly have a phone call in the middle of the night calling for assistance in getting him up.

    My Daughter who suffers from agoraphobia is totally unable to get on a bus, she is receiving "treatment", but it is a slow process. If it were not for the car, she would never leave the house.

    My eldest Son, who has recently moved to Penzance, has just had to have an operation on his Kidney at Trilisck, with various visits to the hospital both before and after the operation. He is signed of work sick at the moment, and only has his sick pay to live on, there is no way he can afford to catch public transport, and we could not afford to visit him in hospital from either a financial or time point of view, if we had to catch public transport.

    All of this before I even use the car in an attempt to earn a living for myself.

    While we live in a society that seems obsessed with centralisation, and out of town shopping, closing down Post offices, etc, then life without a car is not really an option for those of us who do not live in a town.

    I wish you luck in your experiment, but am a little saddened at the demise of a perfectly good car, might I suggest that you would have got more money for it if you had sold it to someone who needed it, rather than scrapping it, it would also have been "greener".
     
  5. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    @ P_Trembath, I think you made a good point that it's not practical to be without a car in such circumstances. I would like to point out that I don't have a problem with people and cars, and I'm not trying to put people off them in any way.... this is more of an experiment to see how it will affect our lives (sparky me and the boys).
    I suppose it's all about needs and wants. When I get in the car I don't want to walk anywhere. I want to be able to pick my food up from a drive through, I don't even want to get out of my car to wash it. When it comes down to school time I'm right in their with the others..... parked practically in the playground because I'm to lazy to walk a few hundred feet. I remember driving round and around Penzance for 20 minutes or more looking for a free car parking space. But in my case I could have walked and saved the time, agro, met people along the way and made myself fitter doing it.
    So you see I have changed because of my attitude towards the car has made me lazy. I don't think that I'm alone in the way I think. But the real challenge is to see how hard it is to live without it....... especially in the winter.
    But it's true I live in Heamoor (close to the town) and therefore can contemplate such an experiment.
    As for the car. It's far from perfect I'm afraid. It's a large 2.1 litre engine that is incredibly thirsty and it also ranks high on the insurance scale. I believe that scrapping a car these days means that it will be recycled. The steal stripped and melted down, the rubber and plastics ground down and all the serviceable parts sold off to those who need replacements. We did enquire as to the best way (and whom to) recycle the car.
     
  6. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    P_Trembath - yours is exactly the life that does need a car. I admire your openness and candour, I admire your willingness to offer opinion and give us an insight into what lies beneath an otherwise impersonal screen name; it allows others to realise we each have our problems to surmount. I can only wish you well and I wish you and yours the very best. May you always have that very necessary strength. ::15:
     
  7. symons55

    symons55 Moderator Staff Member

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    Well said Treeve and I agree completley. We (I) sometimes tend to forget the circumstances in which other people live. I can only wish our friend p_trembath and many others like him, all the best in the future and may the Lord look on them with great kindness.
     
  8. P_Trembath

    P_Trembath The Best

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    Halfhidden, I can assure you that I am probably as guilty as anyone of allowing the car to make me lazy. I want the space right next to the entrance of the shop, and get a bit annoyed when I can't get it, and yes, I too have driven round and round trying to find the nearest spot, when I would have been quicker to have just parked and walked. Which is why I wished you well in your experiment, although, I must admit, that if I lived in town, and circumstances were different, I am not sure that I would do the same. I would like to think that I would, but I probably wouldn't. I like driving too much.

    treeve, I sometimes wonder if I have the car because of my life, or my life because of the car. As for my willingness to offer my opinion, I believe that we should all be able to do the same, it might not change anything, but at least we will all know where we stand. My screen name, is, by the way, my name, again, I personally do not feel comfortable expressing impersonal opinions, especially as on occasion, some of them could be considered to be contravorsial, hopefully not now though. I thank you for your wishes.
     
  9. denanmor

    denanmor Member

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    Having a car (or at least transport) is actually part of my job description, so I definitely wouldn't get far without one! When my car goes wrong it really hits me; I have to take time off work while it is in the garage and rely on lifts. Public transport just won't do it. I also have a family (including the usual children, dogs, cats and wives) all of whom need feeding, watering and cleaning. Several trips to Tesco or Morrisons seem necessary every so often and I wouldn't want to carry 10+ bags back to Newlyn too often! That said I do make the most of Co-0p and Lidls nearby, often walking to them. But if you're not doing a small shop it is hard to be without a car. I know they deliver now, but I like the zen-ness of shopping in reality, not virtually. As it is summer and good weather I am walking a lot more, but come the dark days of winter my car is my haven.
    In the end I believe that some people don't need cars and can survive without them, others could not do without them, and most of us could get away with using them a bit less.
    Good experiment, HH, and good luck! (Have you contacted 'It's Not Easy Being Green'? They might do a piece about you! Free publicity for PP!!)
     
  10. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Having still got problems with fingers and wrists (amongst other joints), I still use my back-pack for shopping; it is a habit from the days of having children on holiday; allows free hands to make sure the kids do not run off into the road, and other hazards that they have a tendency to find. It is much easier than the shopping trolley (remember those). Even in the days of 'the big shop' we always caught the bus (we were occasionally given lifts, but never asked for nor assumed as a right; never have liked being a pleader, used to coping. My grandmother taught me that, bless her). Occasionally hired a taxi, but I include that in the bracket of public transport. I am not anti-car at all, just in the way it begins to dominate thinking and what will eventually become a part of evolution of Man, or in its self destruction, and in its domination and destruction of the landscape in various forms. We are told it is progress. The day that children are safe, there are no accidents that maim, the day that air pollution is reduced to nil etc, etc ... that will be Progress. ::18:
     
  11. fleagle

    fleagle Senior Member

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    My parents could not drive so we went by bus, train or 'shanks pony' When I was 10 years old 2 cottages were knocked down in order to widen the road at Hayle Causeway. Even at that young age I felt sad that 2 homes had to go in order for cars to go fast for a very short distance. Not long after they built the bypass therefore this so called road improvement need not have happened.

    I can drive and have access to a car although I walk as much as possible. One can do without a car as those who donot drive know. however, in certain circumstances having your own transport is a lot easier than depending on others. When my place is beginning to look like Septoes yard and I need to get rid of the old rusty bike, broken lawnmower etc. etc. a trip to St Erth skip is a pain, however, it would be a lot more inconvenient if I did not have my own car to take it in.

    It has always been my bug bear that the railway is not used more to carry freight. I get quite upset seeing the countryside carved up so much to build bypasses to bypass the bypass. Also if only public transport was frequent and cheaper for us under 60. So I could do without the car for 95% of the time. ::1:
     
  12. symons55

    symons55 Moderator Staff Member

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    My father died when I was 4, my Mother couldn't afford to learn to drive let alone own a car, I had a wonderfull childhood. But I must admit that being over 60 now, serving an apprenticeship pre power tools etc. and being self employed, that anything within my reach to make things and life easier I will use. Maybe this is giving in to the modern day, maybe it is lazy, but that is the way it is. I'm too long in the tooth now to change, even if they are getting loose. ::11: ::11:
     
  13. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Apparently 25% of households do not have or have access to a car; Just over 50% have one car. 7% of households have three or more cars. Yet all I hear is how hard up this country is???? I want someone to explain to me just why we live in such a luxury environment and society and all the time I hear about just how bad things are? Home ownership is quoted at about 65% of homes are owned ... so what is the probelm - Fact of the matter is that much of it is on borrowed money and the payments cannot be met easily - it is not actually owned. No one can convince me that a good reason to fork out on a £12,000 car with attendant costs of £4,000 per year is to be able to do the shopping. To carry out a job, yes, to assist the needy of the family, yes. Over the past 40 years of marriage, there was not a single place in Britain that we could not go, and we took the children.
    Please come on and add your reasons why you cannot survive without a car, there must be more than 12 people with an opinion .... ::18:
     
  14. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Well the experiment started yesterday and the guy was due to come and collect the car for recycling, but cannot make it until 2nd July. I'll take a couple of snaps of the car as it is loaded on to the transporter.
    We have already been walking quite a bit more than normal. We use to walk a fair amount anyway, but today we found that we had to walk down town in the morning to do the shopping and then up to the post office at lunch time. After lunch a walk down to the hospital for Andrews appointment and then back home for a cold drink. An hour after that was his doctors appointment.
    I suppose the funniest moment was when we realised that we needed milk. We buy a lot of the stuff and normally it's six pints at a go. We can't just hop in the car and go to Tesco like we use to.... so we opted to try Iceland milk.
    We have already saved a few quid by returning the tax disc to DVLA. They should give us £92.50 in refunded tax, and we have saved our £20 fuel top up.
    Sparky did the shopping on line and Tesco will deliver but it cost us £4.
    Another dilemma lurks ahead. I had planned some building work to a rear garden wall. I will need to hire power tools and buy sand and cement. I had planned to go to B&Q, but now the car has gone this isn't a practical solution. I will have to buy the sand and cement from a local builders merchants and pay for delivery instead. As for getting the power tools I'm not sure yet, perhaps they deliver?
    So even the first few days have proved difficult, but not impossible.
    I haven't tried a bus yet. Anyone recommend a particular operator?
     
  15. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    How Sweet ... sounds like the story of my life - to me what you decribe is 'normal existence' - delivery charges and all that. But it still was a mere pittance compared with the cost of owning an own transport. I can tell you that, despite all the complaints in press and so on, this area has one of the best bus transport networks anywhere. Just get yourself a County bus timetable from the office at the station (bus). All timetables are available on line, and downloadable in pdf format. http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/sou...ce=2/2A/2B&routeid=56424&operator=6&source=sp
    Piece of cake .... ::18:
     
  16. Baby Bren

    Baby Bren

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    Hi as we need to collect many different items each day to run our business we have to use Two cars. It would be nice to just have one because of the horrendous expense of fuel and government taxation but it is just not viable. Also as an ex lorry driver (32 years) I do not like walking if I can help it.
     
  17. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    @treeve It wasn't the time tables I was after. I wanted to know if anyone could recommend one of the many operators. I know of Greyhound,First and Williams to name a few. I was particularly looking to discover who is the best time keeper.
    Anyway the guy came and took old Bessie away today. Here's a couple of snaps to prove she's gone!
    [​IMG]
    Nearly gone!
    [​IMG]
    By Bessie!
    [​IMG]
    Sparky rescued the Wallace and Gromit car mats and I did the final check over to make sure nothing valuable was left in it. Finally she was loaded up and taken away.
    Today we suddenly realised that we needed large bread rolls for lunch. We decided to look around the bakeries. Normally I would simply jump in the car and go to Tesco or Morrison's but as that wasn't an option we looked around town. Although we are saving money not having a car.... we are finding that bits and bobs shopping is much more expensive. I consider these bread rolls as a bits and bobs type shopping (sort of shopping done on the spur of the moment and not part of the weekly organised shop) The supermarket would be 36p for 6 rolls where as we found similar rolls in town at 80p for 4, although they were slightly bigger.
    For a first time in a long time (since childhood) I'm looking for a cloth carrier bag to take with me down town shopping. I am so use to just popping out with nothing more than a credit card and fully expect the shop to supply the bags for the groceries. Now don't get me wrong..... all the shops we visited so far have offered a free plastic shopping bag except unlike the supermarket... I have to carry it home. It doesn't take long before the cheap carrier bag is cutting through to you finger bones.
     
  18. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Buses - I have not found a problem in any bus routes in recent years - As for timekeeping - that mostly depends upon traffic flow and irresponsible parking. Most drivers are cheery and helpful to the extreme. Company policy covers that.
    Not sure you used the right wording there - sounds like it was Sparky that was loaded up and taken away ....
    Get into the habit of buying more than you will use in a week in the case of bread and the like, freeze it or keep it in the refrigerator (sealed properly). Keep in powdered milk for emergencies (in case it is enting down). Make sure your mindset has been changed to not letting yourself down and suddenly have to go out - the inventory should be checked weekly. Most important - do not carry things in cheap plastic bags - it can cripple you - seriously. Get a back pack, or a trolley.
    A rethink is necessary - I am used to it. Key point - it is NOT just down to one person - it is a family event - 'oh, Dad we have just got one loaf left' or 'I will get some milk for you on the way home' sort of thing - the 'little lady' must not be allowed to take the whole responsibility.
    The other point is that now that expense is not dribbling out of the petrol tank - you have a bit more in hand to be less worried about costs of things and delivery charges. Relax and Treat Yourself - You're Worth It.
     
  19. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Cars and business are a different matter - that is down to a seriously qualified accountant who can ensure that all proper deductions and depreciations etc are lodged against your expenses to make sure that you do not waste your funds. You may need the advice of a business consultant to advise on other ways of obtaining stock for daily use; you need to be as active as possible, despite feelings or memories of lorry driving - it keeps the system working, especially the heart and lungs, allowing you (for the most part) to add life expectancy and fitness in later years, allowing you time to have that retirement that we all look for in Life.
     
  20. CHILLYWILLY

    CHILLYWILLY Active Member

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    Paul to Pool five days a week without a car is nigh on impossible on public transport nor cost effective. I do car share though with someone else who lives in Newlyn, so I am doing my bit on the use of fossil fuels. Living in a rural area and having to commute means for me a car is a must have. The walks to Mousehole are good though.
     

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