When my 2010 Toyota Corolla was totaled back in November of 2021 (the day after Thanksgiving), I had no clue what to do.
When my time was up with my insurance-covered rental vehicle, I felt hopeless.
I work for The Rideshare Company, for crying out loud! Why was I so upset to not have a car? I live next to a transit station. I have friends and coworkers to pick me up if need be. As I hunted for a car online in a historically bad time to purchase a vehicle, the realization crept in that Maybe I wasn’t meant to have a car right now.
As someone who has always had a car to rely on, I have very little experience with taking the public bus. (Ok, you got me—I’ve never taken a city bus.) I put that inexperience aside and dove into looking into what it would take to ride public transit to and from the Rideshare office.
Here’s what I’ve found.
Along with extremely high prices on new and used cars, the price of a gallon of gasoline is reaching up into the $4.35 range in Connecticut. Every channel of social media is people posting the gas prices near them, outraged and helpless.
The first time I went to the CT Fastrak platform to buy a bus ticket, my jaw dropped. $3.50 for a day pass with unlimited local rides. It dawned on me the amount of money I would be able to save using the public bus for the foreseeable future.
Positive lifestyle changes
One thing that scared me about not having a car was losing my freedom. I love being able to spend a Saturday morning driving to the farmers market, the thrift store, a local coffee shop, or picking a hiking spot in my area. Truthfully, I know this will be difficult when the weather starts to get nice in Connecticut. But, looking at my bank statements, losing the ability to impulsively go spend money has been amazing for me. My savings account is growing because I can’t run to Target when I’m bored on a Sunday afternoon.
I can still get to anywhere I need to go on the bus, it just takes a little more planning and time. So, it forces me to be more intentional with my trips into town.
A peaceful commute
My first morning catching the 7:07 AM bus to the Rideshare office, I was anxious. Sitting at the Fastrak stop, my mind was racing with thoughts like, “Maybe I should just work from home.” “What if I get on the wrong bus?” “What if my transfer in Hartford is too confusing?” Pushing through these thoughts and getting on the bus, I was instantly relieved. Being greeted by the smiling bus driver, looking around at healthcare workers commuting, a mother and her son, a woman with hiking shoes and a backpack; I felt at ease. I put in my headphones and was able to watch the city pass me by, forgetting the stresses that my commute from New Britain to Bloomfield used to cause me every morning at rush hour.
Will I Ever Go Back?
I’ve been asking myself: Will I save up for a car? When or if I do, will I return to my old ways of commuting and being dependent on my personal vehicle for everything? I can confidently say, I highly doubt it. I think having a car is in my future, so I can go visit my friends and family in other areas. However, after my first day commuting by public transit, I don’t think I can ever justify my 35-minute, traffic-filled commute again.
This seems like the beginning of many great adventures, and a way better daily commute!