• Commuting

Commuting Challenge Wrap Up

By The Reid Household

The commuting challenge has ended!  It has been quite a journey, one that has shifted our perspective on getting from place to place.  While we recognize that in certain places or circumstances driving a car is going to be necessary we realized that there are ways to minimize that.  

Our household embraced this challenge in several ways, and also had some experiences that reinforce some beliefs we share about commuting.

  • Jen used our eScooter to travel to a colleague’s house, and then got a ride with her into school. This route was completed in reverse for the journey home. In general, carpooling is an underutilized strategy for reducing emissions. In the neighbourhood group we have created it is something we are going to discuss.
  • Jen also took the bus to school one day. She has started to use it more regularly for trips into Hamilton from Dundas, saving on gas and also potential parking issues. Google maps makes transit extremely easy, as does being able to simply tap on with a debit card.
  • John has an electric bike that he built with his Dad. Ebikes are really amazing, and a very energy efficient way to get around (particularly in the summer months)!  He used it to avoid using the car all summer as he commuted to his job working in the great outdoors maintaining the local conservation authority lands. He enjoyed the exercise and not having to drive and said it was super fun too.
  • Steve works at home much of the time and when he needs to run errands he waits until he can efficiently do them all in one outing to one area, so his daily driving was very minimal to begin with.  However, he works at a craft brewery in a nearby city that isn’t serviced by public transit.  A classic “you can’t get there from here” situation.  Depending on his schedule there are times he would finish late one day and drive home just to go to bed, then get up and drive back.  This has been a source of stress so he started looking into staying overnight at a friend’s house.  While it won’t always be an option Steve made it work this time, and has made arrangements for it to be a regular occurrence to minimize his driving.
  • With the aforementioned acknowledgement that driving will still be a necessary evil where we live, we visited the Plug and Drive Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre, a unique organization with tons of up-to-date EV info as well the opportunity to test drive several different EVs.  We long ago decided that our current 2013 combustion engine vehicle will be the last gas-powered car we’ll ever own, so this was a great beginning to learning how much the industry has advanced in the last few years and to narrow down our options as a family of 5. We plan to purchase an EV at some point in the near-ish future and are excited about the prospect.
  • Despite Jen successfully using public transit for some of her commuting needs, it was clear that the current system where we live is lacking.  Not only did her trips take noticeably longer than driving directly, the routes don’t always get you where you need to be.  Our son Cameron is a regular transit user and tells us often that it’s frustrating because sometimes the buses run early and if you are arriving at a stop expecting a bus to come only to discover it already passed by then it could be a major problem.  For him, it makes him late to meet friends at the gym.  But for someone relying on the bus ride to get to their job and support their family an unreliable system is extremely problematic.  We are firm believers that there should be extensive, FREE, public transit to encourage people to leave their car at home—if they own one at all!

Written by The Reid Household

Read more of their stories as they vie with the other seven households to reduce their carbon footprint.

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