57 votes

I tried ditching my vehicle and doing the no-car thing. It was awful.

Those urban activists who hate cars must be nuts.

Today, rather than drive my not terribly fuel efficient vehicle from my relative's house back to mine, normally an easy 2 hour 20 minute drive on divided highway, I decided to try using alternative transport.

I started out with a 45 minute walk to the highway bus station. Of course that meant carrying a fairly heavy back pack and being an old fart after awhile that got to be a pain. I spotted a Bird electric bike on my route so I rented it for the final leg of my walk saving considerable time but it cost me $8.99.

I got to the station half an hour early which meant I had the pleasure of standing beside a guy who was either drunk or just unstable. He had "All My Ex's Live in Texas" playing at full volume on his phone and was singing his lungs out. Fortunately most everyone else seemed somewhat normal.

The bus ride wasn't bad, a fairly new FLixBus with decent seats, and fortunately I didnt have to sit beside Mr. Texas. Everyone just put on their headphones or earbuds and zoned out on their phones.

But then arriving at my city, I could either Uber, which would have cost me $35, which was as much as the two hour bus ride or take public transit. After a 10 block walk to the right stop, I found the 'express' bus to my area and then had to find somewhere to buy a ticket.

Once onboard the ride was less than comfortable. The bus was not only incredibly loud and hot but the driver thought he was in Formula 1. He was pretty excitable, going hard then jamming on the brakes whenever he had the chance. 20 minutes on that bus was plenty, I can live without that pain.

Then it was another 15 minute walk to my house.

Was it fast? Definitely not. The trip took four and a half hours, almost DOUBLE the time I normally drive it in my vehicle.

Was it comfortable? Not really, no. It ranged from the hard seat of the suspension less Bird bike, to the very uncomfortable transit bus to a respite in the FlixBus and a somewhat enjoyable walk. But compared to my own car, my own music, and my own personal space, it was definitely not even close to a definition of comfortable.

Was it cheap? With the bus fare and the Bird e-bike it was about 2/3 of what my vehicle would've cost me in fuel but without the licensing, registration and maintenance, so maybe half the cost.

Was it convenient? Absolutely not. What a pain trying to figure out locations, fares, tickets and worst of all, needing a bathroom before I got on the transit bus but no place to go because every shop is locked up because of the vagrants. In a vehicle I just drive to the nearest coffee shop and buy a java to use the washroom.

Would I do it again to save money? Not a chance in hell. What an absolute pain in the ass. Slow, inconvenient, with some odd characters in my space, and not even that cheap. Never again.

Those people who hate cars must be masochists or just love hearing country songs sung badly. Ill take my vehicle every time from now on, thank you.

104 comments

  1. [12]
    Rocket_Man
    Link
    This is crazy. what did you expect? I assume you looked things up beforehand and knew it would be slow, expensive, and annoying. So why do it? You realize those urban activists advocate for better...
    • Exemplary

    This is crazy. what did you expect? I assume you looked things up beforehand and knew it would be slow, expensive, and annoying. So why do it? You realize those urban activists advocate for better public transport and walkable cities because those things generally aren't acceptable right now?

    I would never try and get around without a car where I currently live. But when I visited Pittsburgh it was a dream. The bus service was easy to use from my phone, had up to date time information, and seemed to always have a stop within a 10-15 minute walk. It was great, and that's Pittsburgh which is generally considered to have a meh public transport system.

    238 votes
    1. [2]
      l_one
      Link Parent
      I was going to post a comment that is basically what you have already covered. For much (though with some reasonable exceptions) of the US, the public transportation infrastructure, where it even...

      You realize those urban activists advocate for better public transport and walkable cities because those things generally aren't acceptable right now?

      I was going to post a comment that is basically what you have already covered.

      For much (though with some reasonable exceptions) of the US, the public transportation infrastructure, where it even exists at all, is generally terrible. Other countries have many examples of how to do this much, much better than the US does and it would be really great if we could replicate that kind of infrastructure here.

      Would I use it? No, but I have a bunch of tools and materials to lug around, so I'm a terrible example for the public transportation use-case. But there are so many people who would seriously benefit from it - and so would our environment.

      56 votes
      1. ackables
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        There are also so many trips that would just be more enjoyable if public transit and walking were better options. There are some places without much parking that I would love to take the bus to if...

        There are also so many trips that would just be more enjoyable if public transit and walking were better options. There are some places without much parking that I would love to take the bus to if it wasn’t going to take twice as long.

        19 votes
    2. [2]
      Tardigrade
      Link Parent
      Admittedly things sound like they're in a much better place where I live for public transport (similar to Pittsburgh though it's considered meh but it works just fine) but I did do the research...

      Admittedly things sound like they're in a much better place where I live for public transport (similar to Pittsburgh though it's considered meh but it works just fine) but I did do the research beforehand, surely that's a must? You check the journey and if it's reasonable do it by public transport? I've ended up with public transport being quicker and cheaper for 99% of my journeys and ended up ditching the car but I wouldn't have done it if I'd not known for sure through prechecking and then trialing most of my journeys with it beforehand for months.

      14 votes
      1. JCPhoenix
        Link Parent
        Right? Several years ago, before WFH, when I was commuting to my office in the suburbs, when I lived "deeper" into my city than I do now, I thought about taking the bus to/from work. My drive was...

        Right? Several years ago, before WFH, when I was commuting to my office in the suburbs, when I lived "deeper" into my city than I do now, I thought about taking the bus to/from work. My drive was 25-30min, partly local streets, partly highway. Nothing too crazy.

        I wasn't even sure I could take the bus, since, again, my office was in the burbs. Though it's the one of the major suburbs, where there are lots of office and businesses; like a second CBD of sorts. But I found out I could, thanks to Google Maps and the transit authority website. Great! Except it'd take me at least 2hrs to get to work by bus and at least half a mile of walking. Also, there were only like 6 routes per day. 2 in the morning, 2 in the mid day, and 2 in the afternoon. In the morning, if I missed the bus in the morning, NBD, I could drive. But if I missed the afternoon busses, I was SOL. I'd have to Uber and that'd be like $40 probably.

        So yeah, I never did it. Because why in the hell would I? 2hrs each way? Waking up at least 2hrs earlier than I did? No thanks. This was a far cry from when I lived in Chicago for college and took the CTA busses and "L" multiple every day. Miss one bus? No worries, 10min later there's another! Miss the train on the L? Meh, 15min later another shows up.

        I have never taken the bus in this city where I live, where I grew up (technically in the burbs), where I've been for like 30+ yrs, because I have a car. Because unless you never leave the urban core -- not the whole city, just the urban core -- you have to have a car.

        14 votes
    3. Dr_Amazing
      Link Parent
      I lived in a city with terrible parking for a bit, I'd routinely take a bus into town and a cab back since it was cheaper than paying for parking and more convenient driving in circles looking for...

      I lived in a city with terrible parking for a bit, I'd routinely take a bus into town and a cab back since it was cheaper than paying for parking and more convenient driving in circles looking for a rare free spot.

      9 votes
    4. raze2012
      Link Parent
      OP did say it cost maybe half the amount when taking car maintenance into account. Maybe OP was fine with it being slower if it could save on money. Maybe OP's car isn't in a good state for a 3...

      I assume you looked things up beforehand and knew it would be slow, expensive, and annoying.

      OP did say it cost maybe half the amount when taking car maintenance into account. Maybe OP was fine with it being slower if it could save on money. Maybe OP's car isn't in a good state for a 3 hour ride and this was a test run.

      Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I did similar research trying to get to work in my first job without a car (which is only 15 miles away), and it was silly since the downtimes/distances from bus stations meant I could bike there faster than I could bike + bus. But maybe I could have done it if pushed.

      3 votes
    5. [5]
      smiles134
      Link Parent
      I didn't read past the part where OP said they tried to no-car a trip that normal takes two and a half hours by car. What did they expect?

      I didn't read past the part where OP said they tried to no-car a trip that normal takes two and a half hours by car.

      What did they expect?

      26 votes
      1. [4]
        GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        I've taken a trip that's 2 and a half hours by car, and it only takes a little over 1 by public transport. But I live in Sweden and we've got a great train system. That what people who want to...

        I've taken a trip that's 2 and a half hours by car, and it only takes a little over 1 by public transport. But I live in Sweden and we've got a great train system. That what people who want to reduce car usage are advocating for.

        19 votes
        1. Noox
          Link Parent
          I didn't get my license until last year, and only got my first car 2 months ago. I'm 30. I also live in the Netherlands and did literally everything by bike or by public transport my whole life,...

          I didn't get my license until last year, and only got my first car 2 months ago. I'm 30. I also live in the Netherlands and did literally everything by bike or by public transport my whole life, no car necessary.

          We have a car now because we couldn't get around how much easier things would be if we had one - bulk groceries, going places with the dog, and my new job is 2hrs by public transport and 35 minutes by car... One of few exceptions to public transport reliability here.

          7 votes
        2. [2]
          raze2012
          Link Parent
          sure. And meanwhile california has been trying to make a state railway for... over 20 years at this point? Sure it's a large state, but not that much more fundamentally bigger than any EU country....

          That what people who want to reduce car usage are advocating for.

          sure. And meanwhile california has been trying to make a state railway for... over 20 years at this point? Sure it's a large state, but not that much more fundamentally bigger than any EU country.

          I agree in spirit, but clearly there's a lot of skeletons to clean out before we talk about ideals.

          1. GenuinelyCrooked
            Link Parent
            The tone of this sounds like you disagree with me, but I can't figure out what about.

            The tone of this sounds like you disagree with me, but I can't figure out what about.

  2. [3]
    zoroa
    Link
    Appreciate you sharing the experience! It seems like you and the "urban activists" agree on fundamentally the same thing: using anything other than a car to get around most municipalities sucks...

    Appreciate you sharing the experience!

    It seems like you and the "urban activists" agree on fundamentally the same thing: using anything other than a car to get around most municipalities sucks since all the alternatives are some combination of more expensive, time consuming, dangerous, unreliable or inconvenient than a personal car.

    Though "urban activists" will take that realization and funnel it towards "so it'd be nice if we could get more investiment into making the alternatives better for those who want to use them".

    Your experience touches on another part of going no-car: people who make the conscious decision to do it have to do a lot of prep to make it work.


    Those urban activists who hate cars must be nuts.
    [...]
    Those people who hate cars must be masochists or just love hearing country songs sung badly.

    Separately, the ad hominems feel very out of place given Tildes' philosophy.

    127 votes
    1. ACEmat
      Link Parent
      Felt pretty expected considering they unnecessarily spent 4 1/2 hours being miserable because they misunderstood what proponents for walkable cities and public transit are asking for, and gained...

      Separately, the ad hominems feel very out of place given Tildes' philosophy.

      Felt pretty expected considering they unnecessarily spent 4 1/2 hours being miserable because they misunderstood what proponents for walkable cities and public transit are asking for, and gained nothing out of it.

      Another philosophy of Tildes is acting in good faith, and it's probably agreeable that they're not intentionally trying to cause offense, just venting.

      80 votes
    2. fefellama
      Link Parent
      Great comment. I'd just like to add that besides the people that want to use public transportation, there are countless others who need to use it for one reason or another.

      Great comment. I'd just like to add that besides the people that want to use public transportation, there are countless others who need to use it for one reason or another.

      16 votes
  3. ACEmat
    Link
    As somebody who you will have to pry my vehicle from my cold dead hands, you've missed the point of car-less activism. It's not just not having a vehicle, it's about making not having a vehicle a...

    As somebody who you will have to pry my vehicle from my cold dead hands, you've missed the point of car-less activism.

    It's not just not having a vehicle, it's about making not having a vehicle a viable and practical option. Literally overhauling what made your trip ridiculous in the first place.

    88 votes
  4. [17]
    PetitPrince
    (edited )
    Link
    I can offer you a counterpoint, because just I made a trip of similar duration yesterday. Caveat: I live in the car-free almost(*) utopia also known as Switzerland. It's going to be a bit of a...
    • Exemplary

    I can offer you a counterpoint, because just I made a trip of similar duration yesterday.

    Caveat: I live in the car-free almost(*) utopia also known as Switzerland. It's going to be a bit of a reverse vent compared to OP. Sorry for the rambling tone and the long length ; I should work but my current project sucks I don't feel working on it right now, and the tasks are fairly minor anyway.

    (*) Bike infrastructure could be Netherlands level, but it's not. I'm a crappy cyclist (I've biked like 4 times in my life), and would bike to my nearby town, but without dedicated bike lanes it's scary

    Reason for travel:I work in fairly large software consultancy and there's was a quarterly meeting for the whole group held in the HQ's city (Zurich). They rented a conference room in the local hockey stadium. It's a 1h51 drive from where I live and 2h50 with public transport, but I systematically choose to take the train for reason I will elaborate later on.

    Cost and payment options: It's a fairly expensive trip (144 CHF for a return ticket, which is in the same ballpark in USD), but my company is paying for it + the company is also paying for a half-fare card which, well, cuts down the cost in half to 77 CHF.

    On each train station there's an ticket machine, but I took mine with the train company app (SBB/CFF/FFS, henceforth referred as CFF) while walking to the station. The app tells you which trains to take, on which platform, if there's any delay, and for larger cities there's sometime a map of the train station(*). Another option is to use a feature of the app that uses geolocalisation to automatically calculate your fare. It's provided by a third party company (FairTiq, which is a bilingual pun) but popular enough to be directly integrated in the CFF app (a nice side effect is that since FairTiq is also integrated with most local public transports (metro, buses), you only need one app for the whole of Switzerland). But I'm not using that, since my company is paying for this trip, and they are large enough to get a direct integration with their expense system. In the payment method, I chose "Business customer", then my company, then the reason for my trip; no need to get a receipt and scan it and create and expense in the ERP software!

    (*) handy for Zurich which has a more confusing layout compared to Bern, Fribourg, Lausanne or Geneva; it's not Shinjuku-level but still not as straightforward as the aforementioned train stations.


    The trip itself: it's a fairly typical long distance trip for Switzerland. You first take the regional train to a bigger city, then take an intercity, then take a regional train/bus to the destination.
    For my particular trip I first had to take a local train from my village to the nearby train (leg A), then a regional train to the state capital Fribourg (leg B), then the intercity from Fribourg to Zurich (leg C), then a local train from Zurich to the stadium (leg D).

    Leg A is stupidly short (like five minutes, my village is right next to the town), so there's nothing to report about. Oh, perhaps one thing: there's no ticket gate, you just hop in and hop out. The way ticketing is enforced is with CFF employee going from wagon to wagon and checking the ticket validity. It seldom happens in regional train, but always happen in intercity train. The way it works it that they either check the paper ticket, or scan the QR code on your phone. Or, if you bought the all-inclusive subscription, they scan this card (you can use this in some related services; I use mine to use the parking in a park+ride place in the city where I work).
    Also: and I bought an overprice semi-crappy sandwich in the nearby supermarket because it was noon, I didn't plan properly and I was hungry.

    There's a theoretical 5 minute wait in the town station; but the next train in my journey was already there.

    Leg B was longer (35min), so I opened my laptop and got some work done (and discovered that my IntelliJ setup was somewhat corrupted for this one particular project, damn it).

    10 minute wait in Fribourg, enough to buy some overpriced soda (again, didn't plan properly, but I was thirsty).

    Leg C: I joined my colleagues from the French-speaking region in the leg C, and this one take the bulk of the time for this trip (1h30). Despite assistance from my colleague, we couldn't solve my Java setup. I will need to compile from the command line using maven, and it's going to suck. Oh and there's electrical outlet on nearly each seat, so I plugged my computer. And I went to the toilet.

    Leg D: The train was slightly delayed (+3 minutes) but there's enough buffer time in Zurich (10 min) so that we don't miss the train for leg D where I have nothing to report (we walk from the train station to the stadium and meet with the other German speaking colleague).

    Return trip: it's the same but in reverse. For this trip I didn't work and just idled on the internet with my phone. Sadly all of my joycons are drifting so I didn't took the Switch, that would have been a good occasion.


    Other random features that I didn't use (included here partly to feel smug, partly because they do exists and are common):

    • On intercity trains there's a restaurant wagon (overpriced airline-like food; albeit proper espresso coffee; too bad I don't drink coffee).
    • There's also a kid wagon with an integrated playground (looks like this). Noisy when kids are there (... what did you expect?)
    • In the same wagon on the ground floor (intercity train are mostly double-deckers) there's some accommodation for bikes
    • There's dedicated space for luggage, either between the seats, or near the end of the wagon. I always hear that there might be some theft, but never have witnessed it nor my friends.
    • On some local and regional trains, this luggage space can be converted to ski-storage (... because it's Switzerland, remember?)

    With all that, you can probably guess why I took the train instead of the car:

    • It's paid by my employer (also, parking in Zurich stadium is stupid expensive (about 20 CHF) and it's not paid by my employer), so it's hard to beat on the cheapness level
    • It's convenient (as in we have a well connected network and don't have to walk much)
    • It's longer yes, but comfortable enough that I can work during the travel. In that regard, I feel like it's a similar argument with dishwasher and robot vacuum: yes you can do the thing faster and more efficiently by hand, but when that device or system is doing the work for you, you can do other things than to focus your attention to transport.

    Note: I do have a car and do regularly use it(*)(**). This week-end we're going to some friends place to take some profile pictures for an upcoming LARP in the a neighboring state and there's no question that we're taking the car: it's cuts the travel time in half (2h->1h), and we don't want to haul the photo gear and costume in the public transport. Our time during week-end is precious, and so is our backs, and we'd rather spend time with our friends than idling on the phone.

    (*) I daily commute to a park+ride parking 3 times per week (the rest in work from home) because I gain an 40 minutes per day compared to home -> train -> train -> metro -> work -> metro -> train -> train -> home (it's the changes and waiting time that adds up) . Also, I pick up my wife by car and go to our sports club together.
    (**) yes it's electric, no it's not a Tesla (although you can see 4-5 of them every day; I drive a Hyundai Kona), yes my electricity source is 90% hydro, yes I can charge from home, yes I am like super lucky to be able to do so despite living in a flat (but installation was expensive and I just missed the window that have this installation subsidized because I was stupid and depressed at the time)


    Those urban activists who hate cars must be nuts.

    Urban activists and people who watch Youtube channels like Not just bikes and the like are not hating cars, they hate car-only urbanism with public transport grafted on for poor people.

    Yes your Nestlé / Fifa / Philip Morris / Japan Tobacco / Novartis / Roche / <insert questionable multibillion company here> execs drive their own luxury car (often paid by the company, by the way), but there's a surprising amount of exec of smaller companies that take the train in first class (larger train lines have first class wagon that are quieter than the rest of the train). It's not unheard to see our head of states (the seven people in the Federal Council) and member of parliement taking the train.

    But even in the base level, the wagon are clean, quiet (you're hardly earing the periodic ca-chunk of older rail) and generally air conditioned. People are generally quiet, but it's not religious like in Japan. Social etiquette is that you can hold a normal conversation (not whispering nor shouting) without problem, but nowadays people are mostly glued to their smartphone anyway. There used to be waste bin on each seat but I think CFF is taking the Japan route and just not putting bins and rely on people not littering because that's just rude. But realistically it's probable a time/cost saving measure on cleaning personnel.
    The only time it's dirty is when then some kind of event going and a lots of rowdy people take the train at the same time (music festival, football matches). Usually the CFF have dedicated staff dedicated for this occasion. If you have a large group (school class, company outing or whatnot) you can also book group ticket and there a dedicated wagon for group (everyone can sit there, but it's meant for groups).


    Urbanist activist also argues for mixed-used zoning with good public transport because it's frankly more convenient to make some quick groceries trip on your way home from work rather than to make a 10-15 minutes drive with your car to some humongous supermarket just to get some milk. Instead I walk to the local supermarket and buy my milk there. And I also walk the dog at the same time.

    As a consequence, Swiss apartments have smaller fridge (there's only a single door) with a tiny freezer for ice cream and whatnot. We did bought a larger freezer (about a third of the size of the fridge) because we store premium meat in it (there's this farmer raising wagyu beef, he's selling as a 5kg assortment), and because we like to stock what I like to call "emergency protein" that are in fact ready to use-in-a-dish meat (char siu, siu yuk). And ice creams.

    We do take trip to larger supermarket on the week-ends, but that's because those have a better selection of ethnic food and we're sucker for Asian food; and it's cheaper to get some basic ingredient there than to get authentic ingredient from the specialty shop near my workplace in the city.


    Yes often you do need car. Some friend of mine moved from Lausanne (large-ish city) to Morges (smaller city). They don't have car (because they were working in that super pharma company nearby,and it's accessible by public transport)(it's Merck). Well they rented a car when they moved. There's this car renting company that's fairly available in urban center called Mobility. It's not your regular car rental like Hertz or Sixt or whatever where there's a large parking lot with hundreds of car to rent. Instead they're are smaller places a bit everywhere with like 5-6 cars with a distinctive red livery. You have to pay a base subscription, and then you per on a per-kilometers basis. There's a RFID reader that unlocks the car, and you returns it at the same place. Periodic inspections are made, but it not done each time you're taking the car (if something happens, you are charged afterwards; it's not in the interest of Mobility to screw people because it's assumed to be a somewhat regular but rare occurrence instead of a punctual but captive market) . It's convenient and as frictionless as possible. Mobility trusts that people are responsible enough not to do stupid thing with it, because it's an utility, not a way of self expression.

    They also rent a car whenever they want to visit us.

    One other option is to just use a relative car. I certainly did when I had a smaller car and had to move a furniture from Ikea; I used my father in law station wagon in that case.


    We do have petrol heads in Switzerland. The cliche is that people from one of the mountainous state (which has a less efficient public transport system; except for the ones that leads to the ski resorts) are mullet-wearing Subaru Impreza drivers that overtakes dangerously tourist in the mountain roads at like 100km/h as if it was a rally competition.

    There's also quite a large number of people in the road. Geneva during commute time in the motorway is famously hell. I can only imagine how worse this would be if there was not public transport (rent in Geneva is stupid high, and a half of the worker comes from the neighboring towns in France anyway (an hyperbole, but not that far from reality ). Where I work (Lausanne), we're also this close from having stop and go traffic jam every day during commute time. It's a miracle that it stays fluid.

    There's quite a lot of nice cars compared to France or Spain; every day I see Tesla, every week I see a Porsche and at least once per month I see a Lamborghini/Ferrari/Masserati/Ihavelotsofmoni. And a lot of SUV (myself included), even though there's no huge monstrosity like the Toyota Fortrunner (I drove one on my honeymoon in Namibia, wtf is that behemoth). In the parking lot in my basement there's also some vintage VW van for some reason.

    Point is: we don't hate cars in Switzerland, but for the common people it's a viable option not to have a car, even in rural areas.

    I am aware that Switzerland is way more dense than most country and richer(*), and that's probably in large part why it works that well, but again the point is not to have a all or nothing, but having viable options.

    (*) it's true that the US have 80% of the GDP per capita of Switzerland. But then the Netherlands have 75% of the GDP per capita of the US and yet they have very good public transportation. At this level of wealth it's a policy problem, not a wealth problem

    52 votes
    1. [13]
      FlippantGod
      Link Parent
      On some level I will still maintain that it is also a density problem. Perhaps the more devoted public transit advocates have run more numbers, but I have yet to grasp how exactly the U.S. is...

      At this level of wealth it's a policy problem, not a wealth problem

      On some level I will still maintain that it is also a density problem. Perhaps the more devoted public transit advocates have run more numbers, but I have yet to grasp how exactly the U.S. is expected to copy paste solutions from Switzerland and the Netherlands.

      It could stand to steal the Netherlands' bike infrastructure for cities wholesale, but your regional train system? I have doubts. Although serious expansion of passenger lines in a few key corridors of the rust belt seems like an ambitious but potentially viable start imo. Here is a nice layman's ideation of what I am thinking, a corridor from Chicago to Indianapolis.

      I find the costs (many billions of $) underestimated for Illinois construction. It would be more than 1.5x the length of Switzerland's entire high speed rail system, from checking a couple wikipedia pages.

      8 votes
      1. [10]
        sparksbet
        Link Parent
        Long-distance train travel doesn't necessarily need density to work. Obviously it's more expensive the more ground you have to cover, but that's a matter of political will, not something inherent...

        Long-distance train travel doesn't necessarily need density to work. Obviously it's more expensive the more ground you have to cover, but that's a matter of political will, not something inherent to having a large geographic area. China's first-class rail network is evidence of that, but even if we ignore that, the US used to have an incredibly expansive passenger rail network and still has shittons of freight rail. If we could have such a grand passenger rail network in the late 1800s then it's absolutely possible now -- provided we're willing to invest in it.

        And that's not even touching on how much of the least-dense middle US is flat AF -- an environment in which train lines are way easier and cheaper to build than the mountains of Switzerland. Even where we have to build new rail (which is less than you'd think), most of the US is far from the most difficult place to build it.

        16 votes
        1. [9]
          raze2012
          Link Parent
          we had about 70% of the states we had now in the 1800's. Even if we're talking late 1800s where we were only missing some western states, those rails weren't exactly made ethically either. Doing...

          If we could have such a grand passenger rail network in the late 1800s then it's absolutely possible now

          we had about 70% of the states we had now in the 1800's. Even if we're talking late 1800s where we were only missing some western states, those rails weren't exactly made ethically either. Doing it properly for the swaths of land would take a lot of time, a lot of politics, and a lot of money that people as of now simply aren't interested in spending. Let alone doing it with modern train technology compared to the coal trains of the 19th century.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            PuddleOfKittens
            Link Parent
            IIRC we basically do spend that money, but on maintaining and expanding the road network.

            and a lot of money that people as of now simply aren't interested in spending

            IIRC we basically do spend that money, but on maintaining and expanding the road network.

            6 votes
            1. raze2012
              Link Parent
              sure. that's where the interest lies. I didn't say we lack the funding to spend on public transportation. But the US spent decades describing a car as the ultimate sense of freedom and...

              sure. that's where the interest lies. I didn't say we lack the funding to spend on public transportation. But the US spent decades describing a car as the ultimate sense of freedom and independence. That's a hard mentality to shake off.

              sadly, we'll probably get proper self driving cars before we fix urban planning due to that.

              1 vote
          2. [5]
            sparksbet
            Link Parent
            I don't dispute that it would take time, money, and political will. It absolutely will, even for much smaller improvements than those that are truly needed. I only dispute that there's something...

            I don't dispute that it would take time, money, and political will. It absolutely will, even for much smaller improvements than those that are truly needed. I only dispute that there's something inherent to the size or geography of the US that makes it impossible to have good passenger rail. There is not. It is absolutely possible for the US to have a first-class nationwide passenger-rail network. The technology and geography are not what's keeping us from having one, but rather the human political element.

            3 votes
            1. [4]
              raze2012
              Link Parent
              Sure, nothing in railway is impossible on a technical level. Except maybe transcontinental rails alone the Atlantic/Pacific. But even that with enough coordination and time could be accomplished....

              Sure, nothing in railway is impossible on a technical level. Except maybe transcontinental rails alone the Atlantic/Pacific. But even that with enough coordination and time could be accomplished.

              I just think some people in such discussions underestimate the political friction in these situations. Not just among politicians and regions, but among the people themselves. In a country like the US especially that relies on public interest to get the ball rolling on such initiatives, you'd need to convince the people. Or at least have them be apathetic enough to not vote out a politician starting such a project (which is a small part of why, say, California's rail projects keep stalling out).

              1 vote
              1. [3]
                sparksbet
                Link Parent
                I mean, the comment I initially replied to was about the distances and density involved in US. I absolutely agree with you that it's difficult politically, to an extent that it makes me sad. But...

                I mean, the comment I initially replied to was about the distances and density involved in US. I absolutely agree with you that it's difficult politically, to an extent that it makes me sad. But people having misconceptions that North America is physically unsuited to a good passenger rail network is part of the problem, and it's one of those common misconceptions that needs to be pushed back against when people bring it up, because that kind of "sure it's possible elsewhere but we could never do it here" attitude is a huge problem with the political side of things!

                1. [2]
                  raze2012
                  Link Parent
                  I don't think we fundamentally disagree. Hard =/= impossible. but Harder is still hard, even if it costs proportionally less. I just don't want to go the other way and think "oh we can just copy...

                  I don't think we fundamentally disagree. Hard =/= impossible. but Harder is still hard, even if it costs proportionally less.

                  I just don't want to go the other way and think "oh we can just copy Sweden easily". Because I know it can be hard for non-US people to not understand the sheer size of the US. And not just huge, but sparse, with really rough topology and millions of saquare miles of outright uninhabitable areas.

                  1. sparksbet
                    Link Parent
                    I am myself American so trust me when I say that I know the scale of the US. I don't think we remotely are at risk of overestimating the US's suitability for long-distance rail. I've absolutely...

                    I am myself American so trust me when I say that I know the scale of the US. I don't think we remotely are at risk of overestimating the US's suitability for long-distance rail. I've absolutely never met an American who does. And while there would obviously be differences from countries like Switzerland or Sweden in the details, this doesn't mean it's actually nearly so much harder as many people insist it is. China is a great example here to demonstrate that the barrier to having a fantastic long-distance passenger rail network is more than doable in a geographically large country with sparsely inhabited areas and that building such a system is a matter of government investment and political will.

                    1 vote
          3. GenuinelyCrooked
            Link Parent
            That time exists, and that money exists. The resources and the technology exist. The politics and the interest are what we're trying to work on now. I don't think anyone is under the illusion that...

            That time exists, and that money exists. The resources and the technology exist. The politics and the interest are what we're trying to work on now. I don't think anyone is under the illusion that it will be easy, but it should still be done.

            1 vote
      2. [2]
        PetitPrince
        Link Parent
        First you have to make your places denser ? I don't think it's possible without having amenities within a walkable distance.

        I have yet to grasp how exactly the U.S. is expected to copy paste solutions from Switzerland and the Netherlands.

        First you have to make your places denser ? I don't think it's possible without having amenities within a walkable distance.

        2 votes
        1. FlippantGod
          Link Parent
          You aren't suggesting to move cities closer together, so I assume you are talking about in city transportation. I thought I was pretty clearly discussing regional rail networks.

          You aren't suggesting to move cities closer together, so I assume you are talking about in city transportation. I thought I was pretty clearly discussing regional rail networks.

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      vord
      Link Parent
      I am so insanely jealous that I'm literally mad at the world. This would make travel 10000x easier.

      There's also a kid wagon with an integrated playground

      I am so insanely jealous that I'm literally mad at the world. This would make travel 10000x easier.

      7 votes
      1. Moonchild
        Link Parent
        these were a thing in north america 20 years ago (when i was a small child taking a train trip). i remember a little minigolf course. i guess they've gotten rid of them now?

        these were a thing in north america 20 years ago (when i was a small child taking a train trip). i remember a little minigolf course. i guess they've gotten rid of them now?

        4 votes
    3. WeAreWaves
      Link Parent
      I lived in Switzerland for two years (now about 3 years ago) and I still use the SBB app for any rail planning in Europe. It’s so much better than anything else I’ve come across. I really miss the...

      I lived in Switzerland for two years (now about 3 years ago) and I still use the SBB app for any rail planning in Europe. It’s so much better than anything else I’ve come across.

      I really miss the public infrastructure. And Coop.

      5 votes
  5. gpl
    Link
    Most anti-car activists I know of want investment in public transit and rethinking in urban design to avoid precisely the scenario you just described, which I don't think is nuts at all! It does...

    Most anti-car activists I know of want investment in public transit and rethinking in urban design to avoid precisely the scenario you just described, which I don't think is nuts at all! It does not sound pleasant at all. There are some places in the US that are amenable to living or traveling without a car, but it's true that they are few and far between. Ideally this activism should focus not on prohibiting cars, but rather making them not necessary. Have them if you want, but you shouldn't need them.

    I've spent significant time in the UK and, barring a few isolated instances, I have never had an issue getting basically anywhere in the country via public transit. Maybe some issues with the last few km to my destination, but I have traveled from central London to rural England with basically no issue. There's no reason that cannot be true in the US as well, especially at a regional level, and especially if we stop intentionally designing our urban environments around cars. That's the point of all this anti-car activism imo, unless you've been encountering very different types than I have.

    35 votes
  6. teaearlgraycold
    Link
    This doesn’t really sound like the kind of trip people say you should use public transit for. Granted, if the systems you were interacting with were better it could be acceptable. I live in a...

    This doesn’t really sound like the kind of trip people say you should use public transit for. Granted, if the systems you were interacting with were better it could be acceptable. I live in a major city without a car, but 99% of my origins and destinations are within the city, and always near a subway or train stop. It works just fine! And for road trips I would just rent a car. Within a short walk from my apartment I can go almost anywhere of interest in San Francisco, or to most other Bay Area cities purely by rail. It’s not always the fastest, but it’s pretty easy. And if traffic’s bad it’s actually faster.

    But I know I’m lucky as I’m living in one of the more walkable cities in the US.

    31 votes
  7. [4]
    DrEvergreen
    Link
    I don't think it is possible to have an actuall, educated discussion about his with people that have never experienced a society where the world is physically made to be traversable by way of...

    I don't think it is possible to have an actuall, educated discussion about his with people that have never experienced a society where the world is physically made to be traversable by way of walking, buses, trains, bikes etc to begin with.

    I think you need to physically see and experience just how radically different the world looks before getting how this is a discussion on urban planning and human expectations, not just "drop the car, don't complain".

    Those of us that have seen both get it just fine. Those who have literally never seen a world where getting around locally and distanced can be easy with out a car cannot truly grasp the fundemental differences, I don't think.

    25 votes
    1. [3]
      gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      Probably right. The closest Ive come is living in a city that had a half decent train system and a well developed bus system. But even with that, the one factor that does not change is WHO is...

      Probably right. The closest Ive come is living in a city that had a half decent train system and a well developed bus system. But even with that, the one factor that does not change is WHO is using it. And in the city in question, there has been so many reports of drug addicts openly using on the train or homeless people camping out in the train shelters that my enthusiasm for using such a system is greatly diminished. There are currently greater police patrols because of these issues but do I really want to be using that train at midnight and be sitting in front of a guy who takes out his pipe and starts to smoke up while we're enroute? Not really, no. And I certainly wouldn't let my wife or daughters use it either.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        I've used (as a 5' 5", 120 lb. female-appearing person) public transit in some of the poorest places in the U.S., including downtown Detroit in the 1980's. The vast majority of riders just want to...

        I've used (as a 5' 5", 120 lb. female-appearing person) public transit in some of the poorest places in the U.S., including downtown Detroit in the 1980's. The vast majority of riders just want to get from point A to point B. For all the horror stories that made the news, I never encountered a problem worse than the body odor of other riders on a hot day. Yes, you'd see passed-out drunks and nodding junkies, but they're lost in their own worlds and not particularly threatening if you're not staring at them with disgust and hostility. Spouse was a native New Yorker and the worst he ever dealt with on the subway was a drunk throwing up on his shoes.

        I empathize with your fears, but my anxieties are directed at car drivers who are distracted with their phones, doing their makeup while driving (common Florida tactic), clearly intoxicated or fatigued, or taking out their pent-up rage and aggression. I've never seen anyone killed or assaulted on a train or bus, but used to pass catastrophic highway accidents on a near-daily basis. Choose your risks.

        21 votes
        1. gowestyoungman
          Link Parent
          Well Ive worked at street level with the street population. MOST of them are completely harmless, but the rare one who isn't, is a very scary individual. But point taken. I still prefer the...

          Well Ive worked at street level with the street population. MOST of them are completely harmless, but the rare one who isn't, is a very scary individual. But point taken. I still prefer the sanctity of my own car.

          1 vote
  8. [6]
    NonoAdomo
    Link
    I have two stories to tell relating to this, and both of them will reitterate a point that has been made multiple times throughout this. First is for my honeymoon with my wife. We went to Germany...

    I have two stories to tell relating to this, and both of them will reitterate a point that has been made multiple times throughout this.

    First is for my honeymoon with my wife. We went to Germany to tour around. In this adventure, we started in Munich, hopped over to Fussen, traveled all the way to Dortmond for a concert and then finally to Berlin. In this time, we traveled in nearly every possible mode except car. We were able to travel around seamlessly with transit. Was it cheap? No. Train tickets to go the (roughly) equivalent distance from Philadelphia to Buffalo definitely was not cheap. But so is renting a car and paying for the gas. We absolutely loved our trip and would do that method again in a heartbeat. Could I ever envision doing that in the US? Not a chance.

    I live in Canada now though, and this begins my second experience I can help relate. I live in Toronto. Despite all the complaints about the TTC, it's a solid and very well served transit system. I value it greatly and take it anywhere I can if possible. Living near a subway station right now, I enjoy that I can be anywhere on the transit network within ~45 minutes. I can also take the regional rail system from the city out towards other, smaller cities that allow me to visit people I know there. I can even take the train straight to the airport and fly anywhere in the world. It's super convenient! However, I still own a car. In fact, I'm buying a new one to replace my current one. Why? My place of employment is just outside of transit and I have enough places I want to go outside the city that not having a car makes it impossible to get there. In the GTA, I can get much anywhere. Outside of it? It's essentially inaccessible and I need to rent a car to get anywhere. As much as I would love to just not worry about a car anymore, I can't.

    North American sprawl dictates that if I want to leave the general geographic area I'm in, I need to drive. The activism is the desire to avoid that reality. Driving is dangerous to people and the environment, as well as car-centric design makes an incredibly hostile environment to pedestrians. For example, if I want to go to a grocery store in the US, in a majority of the scenarios I have to walk down a busy, loud multi-laned street to walk across a large, car-filled parking lot to finally reach the shop. Then I have to make the trip in reverse with all my stuff. All of which is unpleasant, and forcing me to either pay the money to own a car, or just be stuck without the same opportunities in employment or access to stores or entertainment.

    Ultimately what I'm trying to say here is: The anti-car activism is the desire to prevent the exact scenario you experienced BECAUSE the car-centrisim design of North America means that almost everything is designed like that, and is is not people friendly, it's car friendly. And if you don't have a car, you don't matter.

    23 votes
    1. [5]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      As you describe it, it sort of sounds like there are anti-car activists who want to be able to travel without a car anywhere, which is more radical than I had assumed. Are there people like that?...

      As you describe it, it sort of sounds like there are anti-car activists who want to be able to travel without a car anywhere, which is more radical than I had assumed. Are there people like that? It seems awfully rigid about never getting into a car, not even a taxi.

      It seems like more typically, people want there to be more places where you can live car-free and more places you can visit, and that's a more reasonable goal.

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        sparksbet
        Link Parent
        I don't know anyone who's anti-ever getting in a car, even a taxi. One of the arguments I've seen for decreasing car ownership and improving public transit is actually that one can use carsharing...

        I don't know anyone who's anti-ever getting in a car, even a taxi. One of the arguments I've seen for decreasing car ownership and improving public transit is actually that one can use carsharing services for occasional trips that need a car if you're otherwise able to handle your commute and common basic tasks by bike or public transit. This is something my wife and I do -- we live in Berlin, and owning our own car wouldn't be worth the expense given how good public transit is here. But if we need to pick something up from Ikea or something, obviously we're capable of renting a car (and these days it's crazy cheap and easy to do so).

        That said, a lot of these trips could be made without a car if bike infrastructure and cargo bike ownership go up. The Netherlands is obviously the best place to find examples of that in practice and you'd be surprised how much those can handle.

        For longer trips many of these same people also advocate for improved passenger rail networks, but I don't think most "anti-car" activists see those as completely replacing longer-distance car travel, but rather as being a more efficient and pleasant alternative to a car on certain journeys.

        14 votes
        1. [3]
          PuddleOfKittens
          Link Parent
          With the caveat "only if you have a driver's license". Learning to drive takes time (it can legally require 100 hours of driving to get a full driver's license, depending on the country), and...

          is actually that one can use carsharing services for occasional trips that need a car

          With the caveat "only if you have a driver's license". Learning to drive takes time (it can legally require 100 hours of driving to get a full driver's license, depending on the country), and doesn't make sense if you drive less than once a month. It takes a lot of inconvenience before someone decides "well, I might as well spend two-and-a-half-work-weeks learning to use this minor utility".

          For longer trips many of these same people also advocate for improved passenger rail networks, but I don't think most "anti-car" activists see those as completely replacing longer-distance car travel, but rather as being a more efficient and pleasant alternative to a car on certain journeys.

          No, this anti-car advocate absolutely advocates for improved passenger rail networks to completely* replace longer-distance car travel. Not only because learning to drive just for obscure occasional rural trips isn't worth it, but also because Switzerland shows most peoples' standards for rural rail are waaay too low.

          *Within reason; if you live in the boonies then obviously that dirt road shouldn't be replaced with rail, that would be insane. But at that point, if you're visiting a relative or such then you might as well just have them pick you up with the car they already clearly need. Or you could take a taxi, if you really need to. Obviously if you're travelling to somewhere without people at all (e.g. for work) then sooner or later you'll need to learn to drive, because that's the exact opposite of mass transit.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            sparksbet
            Link Parent
            Your asterisk is basically what I meant by "not completely" -- there is a "within reason" that is present and different from, say, banning cars in a city center. The goal is to make rail a viable...

            Your asterisk is basically what I meant by "not completely" -- there is a "within reason" that is present and different from, say, banning cars in a city center. The goal is to make rail a viable and attractive alternative for most trips, which will naturally lead to fewer people taking such trips by car and feeling the need to get driver's licenses.

            Getting one's driver's license is much cheaper and easier in North America than it is in many European countries, in part because of how car-centric the infrastructure is. The more getting around without a car is feasible and convenient, the less the average person needs a driver's license. This is why getting a driver's license is basically a coming-of-age milestone in the US but is just a thing some fraction of people do here in Germany.

            But a lot of people (especially North Americans) who argue for car-centric infrastructure will bring up occasional trips that they believe absolutely require a car, like moving furniture, and the argument that car-sharing services fill this niche well for someone who doesn't own their own car is useful to combat that idea and actually encourage the idea of not everyone owning their own car. This was the main point, iirc, of this Not Just Bikes video.

            9 votes
            1. DefinitelyNotAFae
              Link Parent
              Getting a license is also often offered through your high school on the US for additional evidence of how "easy" it is to get. You still need to have an adult with a car and the time to get your...

              Getting a license is also often offered through your high school on the US for additional evidence of how "easy" it is to get. You still need to have an adult with a car and the time to get your practice hours in if you're going to get a permit or license before you're 18, but after 18 the requirements are more just passing the tests. (Varies by state)

              There are definitely Americans in certain big cities that don't get their licenses, and others who don't have the means to do so easily, but it's broadly the standard to do so.

              6 votes
  9. GenuinelyCrooked
    (edited )
    Link
    Earlier this month, I traveled by car for two and a half hours, and then made the trip back using public transport. I don't own a car, Health services sent one for my husband who needed surgery in...

    Earlier this month, I traveled by car for two and a half hours, and then made the trip back using public transport. I don't own a car, Health services sent one for my husband who needed surgery in another city.

    The trip by car was fine. The scenery was lovely. Stopping for gas was inconvenient, but didn't take that long. The driver got a bit lost at the end, that was worrisome. Probably would have been quite expensive if not paid for mostly by the health service.

    On the way back, I took public transport. For less than $3.50 I took a bus 15 minutes from the hospital to the train station. It's also a lovely walk full of green spaces and old architecture, so it wouldn't be stressful not to take it, but I was in a bit of a hurry.

    At the train station I spent less than $20 to buy a train ticket, and rode the train for an hour and 5 minutes. I then walked 10 minutes home from the train station. I had a somewhat heavy overnight bag with me, but there was space to store it on the bus and the train, so I only had to carry it a little ways, similar to how far you'd have to carry it if you drove somewhere that parking is difficult.

    It was quicker and cheaper and easier for me to make the trip by public transportation because I live in Sweden and this country has built the infrastructure for it. Bus stops a short distance from each other with busses that come predictedably and frequently and can be checked on with an app on your phone. High speed rail between cities. These aren't geographic features, this takes effort and investment. This is what urban activists want. They want that infrastructure built.

    I mentioned I don't have a car, but I used to. I lived in South Florida, which is not remotely friendly to carless transport. If I'd done what you did this time of year, I would have gotten heat stroke. But Florida doesn't have to be that way. Your town doesn't have to be that way. Busses and trains can be better and cheaper, we just have to want that and be willing to invest in it. Or do the easy thing like me and just move someplace that's already better.

    21 votes
  10. [2]
    CannibalisticApple
    Link
    I feel a 2 and a half hour trip is not the right one to use as a test run for the no-car thing. I have limited knowledge of the movement, but I was under the impression it was about moving and...

    I feel a 2 and a half hour trip is not the right one to use as a test run for the no-car thing. I have limited knowledge of the movement, but I was under the impression it was about moving and traveling inside cities. Things like daily commutes or visiting local friends, not large trips to other cities like that.

    19 votes
    1. adorac
      Link Parent
      They have solutions for large trips to other cities too (mostly high-speed rail) but yeah, most of the movement is about making in-city travel easier.

      They have solutions for large trips to other cities too (mostly high-speed rail) but yeah, most of the movement is about making in-city travel easier.

      9 votes
  11. lou
    Link
    I think most activists would say that they are pro public and alternative transport first and foremost. If there are no viable alternatives where you live, you should definitely have a car.

    I think most activists would say that they are pro public and alternative transport first and foremost. If there are no viable alternatives where you live, you should definitely have a car.

    19 votes
  12. [2]
    F13
    Link
    It sounds like you have possibly one of the absolute worst case commutes to try to go no-car. Two and a half hours? That's patently insane anywhere that isn't America.

    It sounds like you have possibly one of the absolute worst case commutes to try to go no-car. Two and a half hours? That's patently insane anywhere that isn't America.

    17 votes
    1. DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      It wasn't a commute, as described but returning home from a visit.

      It wasn't a commute, as described but returning home from a visit.

      6 votes
  13. [2]
    gowestyoungman
    Link
    Just to add a post mortem to this thread, I actually went out and bought a recumbent bike after about 30 years of not riding regularly. Its been interesting riding in the city. Residential streets...

    Just to add a post mortem to this thread, I actually went out and bought a recumbent bike after about 30 years of not riding regularly. Its been interesting riding in the city. Residential streets are not a problem but there are a few roads that are WAY too busy to feel comfortable on. Legally Im not supposed to ride on the sidewalk, but then again if the choice is between getting a ticket from the police or being run over by a speeding vehicle, I'll take the sidewalk, thanks.

    I do have a bit more empathy now for people who have to ride a bike regularly. Im doing it for fun and its been enjoyable, but Im sure if this was my only way to get around Id have some strong opinions about a few drivers. Most people gave me wide berth but its still unnerving when they're doing 45 mph and Im doing 15.

    There are quite a few bike paths in this city apparently. Time to find them so I can relax while riding.

    16 votes
    1. rosco
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the update, I'd be excited to hear more about how it goes as you get back into it in the weekly fitness thread (I think that's probably the best place for it?) and thanks for hearing...

      Thanks for the update, I'd be excited to hear more about how it goes as you get back into it in the weekly fitness thread (I think that's probably the best place for it?) and thanks for hearing those of us who are advocating for infrastructure change. For those of us that come from areas that really are centered around the car it can be hard to imagine it being any different.

      5 votes
  14. [5]
    smoontjes
    Link
    You're really getting some attitude in this thread.. I don't think you deserve that and I think it's uncalled for.. I was at a thing in the countryside last weekend and it was a pain in the ass to...

    You're really getting some attitude in this thread.. I don't think you deserve that and I think it's uncalled for..

    I was at a thing in the countryside last weekend and it was a pain in the ass to get there too - and this is despite my country actually having some of the world's best collective transportation. It took me about 3 hours. ~5 minutes to the train station (I live very closeby), about 1.5 hour in the first train, then change to another train which took almost an hour, and the last bit - the shortest, even - would take over an hour because it's in the countryside and so there are no buses there. Thankfully though, I got picked up, so it was only 30 minutes by car. But it still took a total of 3 hours.

    Compare that to 2 hours and 20 minutes by car.

    So even with good public transport, it's still a hassle and a half. Only within city limits can I expect cars to be more expensive and equally annoying/easy as public transport.

    But 3 hours vs. 2 hours and change is still pretty good. I don't think it's fair to expect there to be trains and buses in very rural areas, anyway. But yeah, I hope proper public transport like this will one day happen in your area!

    12 votes
    1. [4]
      GenuinelyCrooked
      Link Parent
      The attitude is coming from the misrepresentation of people who want to reduce car usage. No one is arguing that people should just stop using cars and nothing else about the world should change....

      The attitude is coming from the misrepresentation of people who want to reduce car usage. No one is arguing that people should just stop using cars and nothing else about the world should change. That's a strawman, and I don't think it's unfair to be a bit frustrated by it.

      46 votes
      1. [3]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        You have nailed it. It's this sentiment: It is so dismissive of the whole idea of making culture less car centric, and while I applaud OP for making some effort to talk about it, people who...

        You have nailed it. It's this sentiment:

        Those people who hate cars must be masochists or just love hearing country songs sung badly. Ill take my vehicle every time from now on, thank you.

        It is so dismissive of the whole idea of making culture less car centric, and while I applaud OP for making some effort to talk about it, people who advocate for less car centric cities have dealt with so many poor-faith arguments like this that it is very frustrating to see something so mischaracterized.

        30 votes
        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          I honestly have such a hard time understanding what a person has to be thinking in order to see a bunch of people making a specific complaint, but not actually listen to what they are saying and...

          I honestly have such a hard time understanding what a person has to be thinking in order to see a bunch of people making a specific complaint, but not actually listen to what they are saying and then accidentally build a strawman to knock down. I especially find it hard to believe that is happening here, where the case in point is something that gets brought up so frequently and there are so many opportunities to get clarification as to what it is that the group in question actually wants. You wouldn't even need to ask; just to read what they're already saying.

          22 votes
          1. PuddleOfKittens
            Link Parent
            The charitable interpretation is probably to assume they're a victim of disinformation - right-wing culture warriors make up all sorts of bullshit, e.g. the 15-minute city conspiracy claiming that...

            The charitable interpretation is probably to assume they're a victim of disinformation - right-wing culture warriors make up all sorts of bullshit, e.g. the 15-minute city conspiracy claiming that urbanists want to forcibly prevent people from travelling further than 15 minutes, so the most likely means of good-faith accidentally strawmanning is to hear an existing malevolent strawman and fall for it.

            12 votes
  15. BeanBurrito
    Link
    I lived without a car for about 10 years of my adult life. It was under almost the best of circumstances. I lived in a walkable college town that was in a metropolitan area with one of the best...

    I lived without a car for about 10 years of my adult life.

    It was under almost the best of circumstances. I lived in a walkable college town that was in a metropolitan area with one of the best public transportation systems in the U.S..

    It was still a drag.

    Friends with cars who would commend me for living without a car made me want to roll my eyes.

    10 votes
  16. kacey
    (edited )
    Link
    Thank you for trying, at least :) I don’t think a lot of people would, let alone admit to it afterwards. I don’t know where this happened, but there are almost certainly people who are forced to...

    Thank you for trying, at least :) I don’t think a lot of people would, let alone admit to it afterwards.

    I don’t know where this happened, but there are almost certainly people who are forced to make that commute because they either can’t drive (too young, visual impairment, physical disability, etc.) or the modest cost saving is worth it for them. If we want to build a world where everyone can move freely, we need to build it for them too.

    You ran into a problem with your region’s design — annoyance is totally understandable. It can get a lot better, though: a morning trip from Toronto to London (Ontario) looks like 2 1/2 hours by car and exactly the same by train (no transfers). And London is often the butt of anti-car urbanist jokes for being so poorly designed!

    10 votes
  17. Pavouk106
    Link
    It really dependa on where you live. 2h20m car drive on highway literaly covers half of my country (Czec Republic), that is if you are lucky and there are no problems along the way (like accidents...

    It really dependa on where you live. 2h20m car drive on highway literaly covers half of my country (Czec Republic), that is if you are lucky and there are no problems along the way (like accidents etc.). If you took public transport, you would like to get on a tatin as fast as possible as these are the best to cover long distances here.

    Basically it goes like this: big cities are kinda transportation hubs that has train stations and main bus terminals alongside each other most of the time (or there the transit between them is kinda short, say 20 minutes max). Small towns often have bus stop near train station.

    So if you are going from some end of the world villlage that has like 300 people living there, you would take bus from this "nowhere" location (probably goes a few times a day) to bigger city (population 2000-5000), then hop on train to get to big city (likely around 50-200 thousand people) and from there you can go to any other such big city (probanly with transfers in really big cities like Prague - these tranfers are almost immediate, like 10 minutes).

    It will take you longer than using car, that is almost certain. But the experience wouldn' t be unpleasant. Intercity trains are really nice and busses to "nowhere" are also very usable. Say if you went from where I live to my friend's place I would have to drive like 300km (200 miles). If I went by car, this would be around say 3 hours. If I took public transport (optimal) it would likely be around 40 minutes to get on a train and then probably 3.5-4 hours on the train. I don't know the final stretch, but I believe it would be around 30 minutes. When on a train, I would whip out Steam Deck and play the whole way, probably getting something to eat and drink a beer or two :-)

    You lose time while taking public transport, that is for sure. You get ame of it back if you can do something while using it though. It can be cheaper but it can also be more expensive than using a car. But it's really not bad here and you can kinda get anywhere. And there are taxis and ubers and whatnot, too.

    From what you described, I'm guessing US? I keep reading and hearing (from various kinda educative videos) that public transport in US, especially longer distance than your current city, is no in thr best shape - mainly due to big popularity of having your own car back in the day thus making everything car-centric, not putting money and nuch thought into public transport. If you are US, it may prove some of those point, maybe?

    8 votes
  18. rosco
    Link
    I think like most folks have pointed out, you have hit the nail on the head. Current infrastructure for cars is much better than any other mode of transit. In North America for each 1 dollar we...

    I think like most folks have pointed out, you have hit the nail on the head. Current infrastructure for cars is much better than any other mode of transit. In North America for each 1 dollar we spend on train/bike/walking infrastructure we spend 10 dollars on car infrastructure. We have chosen to do this and the experience you had shows the result.

    The "urban" in urban activists is key. Public transit and walking/biking make a lot of sense when there is a high density of people. We just don't have the space to have that many cars driving and parking in a dense city. Even to the suburbs where there can be transit hubs, it's makes less sense but would still be great to have as an option. But once we're talking about rural communities it doesn't make as much sense, but the cost of building any infrastructure - even roads - is incredibly expensive for the amount of usage. Folks need them and so we should build them, but I think that is where some of the ire from urbanists come from.

    Per capita we spend so much, much more of the infrastructure for rural communities than we do for city dwellers and it can often feel like attempts to make transit more available - and the federal level budgets required to do so - are shot down by folks who won't use it. Sometimes I think that turns into bitterness and the feeling of "well if I can't have things then they shouldn't be able to either". And you get very, very aggressive stances in regards to cars - likely the sentiment that you're feeling.

    On a personal level I have a car and motorcycle, but also frequently bike and walk. I live in an area with about a hour of farmland surrounding our collection of towns with a total of about 100,000 people in the area. In town, I can get most of what I need through walking. The grocery store, hardware store, and various repair shops are a 10 minute walk. For fun, I usually take my bike. The outdoor spaces I like, the gym, bars/restaurants are all accessible within a 10-15 minute bike ride. But in both cases I'm very fortunate to live in an area that was developed in the 1700-1800, before car travel was a thing. And in North America that is an anomaly I appreciate! But if I want to go to see my parents 2-3 hours away I drive. If I need to get to the airport, I drive. If I need to get to the nearest urban area I drive. Because the public infrastructure we did have, like our coastal train system, we destroyed to make way for car/trucking based options.

    I'm a huge proponent of expanding infrastructure for other modes of transportation, minimizing the footprint of cars (as pedestrian road deaths are up 50% in the last 5 years), and making it easier/cheaper to make those choices. And I do all that while I still rely heavily on a car. I think you made great points about how frustrating it is to not have a car, and most of us who are "nutty urban activists" just want there to make the journey that you took to be as easy, comfortable, and affordable as if you had done it in your car.

    6 votes
  19. chocobean
    Link
    I'm glad you had the option to never have to attempt that again. Public transportation, though, is for people who often have no other options. There was a time when I needed to commute two hours...

    I'm glad you had the option to never have to attempt that again. Public transportation, though, is for people who often have no other options.

    There was a time when I needed to commute two hours from the suburb into the city for my 8 hour work day. I was too tired to safely drive, and also my family only had the one vehicle. So I took transit every day. Was it terrible? Yes. Do I wish it was better? Yes.

    When I stopped making that commute, my car pool mates were still doing it. Four hours gone every day just like that. If we had fast rail that solves the last mile, or if cities were planned such that jobs I need to buy food aren't two hours away, that'd be great.

    5 votes
  20. [3]
    semsevfor
    Link
    You're getting a lot of hate in this thread and I'm sorry about that. You're absolutely right. It's completely ridiculous to try to eliminate cars. Most of the time I'm going somewhere the only...

    You're getting a lot of hate in this thread and I'm sorry about that. You're absolutely right.

    It's completely ridiculous to try to eliminate cars. Most of the time I'm going somewhere the only option is my car. If I'm going to work, I have my work bag with me, and I have to be presentable when I arrive at work. Public transit would have me walking several miles on either end, not easy to do in work clothes and I'll show up sweaty and stinking, unacceptable. Biking which I have considered, would be a real pain with my bag, and I'd show up even sweatier and stinkier. Plus timewise, driving my car is roughly 4-5 or more times faster than either of those options. I already don't have much free time anymore so I'm not cutting that down anymore.

    Ok what about groceries? When I go to the store I'm stocking up. I am an efficient person, if I'm going to the store I'm getting everything I'm gonna need for a few weeks so I won't be going back. I also shop at Costco sometimes as well. No way in hell I can get bags and bags of groceries or stuff in bulk from Costco home in any possible fashion other than my own car.

    Long distance trips I take often. Some to rural places where there is literally no public transit for miles and miles.

    I'm currently on a long 1000 mile from home road trip for vacation, trying to take a bus or train to achieve this same trip would be a nightmare, similar to your experience. Fuck that.

    I get they want to improve public transit. I'm all for that, let's make it better. But removing cars is never going to work.

    The only possible way they could ever remove cars is if there was a reliable web of fully autonomous, reliable, electric car fleets that would pick people up and take them wherever they wanted to go and could run several hundred miles on one charge. Only then could I see this changing. But even with that solution you still have the problem of people being assholes and leaving messes, bodily fluids, or destroying the things. Nasty.

    No I'll never get rid of my car thank you.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      redbearsam
      Link Parent
      In walkable cities one stocks up smaller amounts more frequently at stores that are themselves more frequent, which is no less efficient - perhaps in fact it is more so - than occasional specific...

      In walkable cities one stocks up smaller amounts more frequently at stores that are themselves more frequent, which is no less efficient - perhaps in fact it is more so - than occasional specific journeys well out of your normal route to purchase masses of groceries.

      16 votes
      1. GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        I find it to be more efficient because I'm less likely to purchase food that goes bad before I can use it. I just buy my fresh produce a day or so before I want to eat it, rather than buying a...

        I find it to be more efficient because I'm less likely to purchase food that goes bad before I can use it. I just buy my fresh produce a day or so before I want to eat it, rather than buying a whole bunch of food at once and then getting a few days where I can eat fresh produce and a whole week where I'm only eating preserved foods. If this way does take more time, which I don't feel like it does, it more than makes up for it in healthfulness, money not wasted, and reduced environmental impact (not using a car + reduced food waste).

        13 votes
  21. chewonbananas
    Link
    I don't have a car. My daily commute is around 5 km long. The bus lines are unreliable and inconsistent. I used to walk to work every day. With the elevation changes in the last 600 m, it would...

    I don't have a car. My daily commute is around 5 km long. The bus lines are unreliable and inconsistent. I used to walk to work every day. With the elevation changes in the last 600 m, it would take me ~45 mins. Less if I walked like a maniac. Then, I bought a bicycle and started cycling to work. That took me about 22 mins. So half the time. I'd get similar results with an e-scooter, but I dislike using it as it is bumpy and unstable to control when compared to a bike. Is commuting that way as bad as people said that it would be? No. Is it bad when it rains? Only when it's really pouring. Does it waste an enormous amount of time, that's 90 minutes total per a day. Yes, that can be considered a long time.

    I like cycling as much as anyone, but the car drivers abhorr cyclers. It is getting to a point where it's dangerous for me to hop on the road. And sure, I can cycle on the sidewalk, but with the way they are made it's kind of a nuisance that takes a toll on my bike and knees. E-scooter is a bit better, but includes mounting and dismounting at least 8-10 times per trip. You also have to be constantly aware of its battery levels which deplete quite quickly.

    I've lately re-started walking to work. It's much easier. I don't have to be so tense and given the reason I don't drive a car in the first place, it allows me to get to work feeling mentally rested. It also builds endurance and is generally good for my knees.

    But, you know what, if I could drive a car, I wouldn't hesitate one moment. The experience of being carless is not something I wish upon myself in later years. Not if I'll have to commute as long as I have to these days. I understand your point of view and agree with it. For the most part. I'm not a car hater, as much a I dislike car exhaust gases and their drivers that don't give a damn about pedestrians

    5 votes
  22. [2]
    GoingMerry
    Link
    This post feels like rage bait. You describe active city activists as « anti car », admit in the comments that you are annoyed by anyone who advocates for anything, and did literally zero research...

    This post feels like rage bait. You describe active city activists as « anti car », admit in the comments that you are annoyed by anyone who advocates for anything, and did literally zero research on both the changes you say you are testing out AND your actual experiment.

    On the off chance you are being sincere, I’ll share my point of view. I grew up with a car. I love driving. I love cars. I don’t own a car, nor have I had one for the last 5 years.

    Cars are convenient. And why not - city planning in North America has centered around the car for half a century. We actually had pretty good public transit in North America in most cities before the advent of the car, but that transit was systematically destructed in favour of the car. This means that in pretty much every North American city, driving a car will be cheaper and more convenient for an individual than any alternative.

    Unfortunately, the aggregate costs to society are much higher than alternatives. Roadway maintenance, traffic productivity loss, and environmental issues are some of the costs bourne by society for individual car usage. Individuals typically don’t pay these costs - sometimes the government pays, but in general it’s society that is paying by having a crappier society with more pollution, gridlock, and money going to road maintenance rather than something else.

    Advocates for alternative forms of people movement are advocating to set up the system so that these aggregate costs are minimized. They aren’t anti-car, it’s just that the car has had so much preferential treatment over the last 50 years that drivers have become accustomed to governments throwing tons of money/space at them, and don’t like to be told that a rebalance needs to happen.

    If you care about building a society in North America that will handle more people while still being a great place to live, you should look into what these advocates are actually asking for. This is a « solved problem » for the most part, what’s missing is the political will to make it happen.

    19 votes
    1. paris
      Link Parent
      I assumed while reading this that it was satire, i.e. making fun of all the people who do talk like this, by illustrating exactly how important it is to have a functional publicly funded public...

      I assumed while reading this that it was satire, i.e. making fun of all the people who do talk like this, by illustrating exactly how important it is to have a functional publicly funded public transportation option.

      Then I read the comments and no, apparently this was not satire??

      8 votes
  23. shrike
    Link
    I stopped reading when you wrote "45 minute walk to bus station". The whole point of public transit is that unless you live in suburban cul-de-sac hell or out in the boondocks, you'd never be that...

    I stopped reading when you wrote "45 minute walk to bus station".

    The whole point of public transit is that unless you live in suburban cul-de-sac hell or out in the boondocks, you'd never be that far from a public transit stop. And if you're farther away, you can bike to the public transit location, leave your bike there (to be stolen most likely tbh) and continue from there. Or you can grab one of those electric scooters lying around everywhere.

    No public transit story should ever start with "First I had to walk for an hour".

    8 votes
  24. [3]
    Moonchild
    Link
    i think you have entirely missed what that activism is for

    Those urban activists who hate cars must be nuts

    i think you have entirely missed what that activism is for

    43 votes
    1. DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I don't think I can ever go "no car" but urban activists don't want people making regular, miserable 5 hour multi-transit trips with huge backpacks as far as I understand them.

      Yeah, I don't think I can ever go "no car" but urban activists don't want people making regular, miserable 5 hour multi-transit trips with huge backpacks as far as I understand them.

      22 votes
    2. ackables
      Link Parent
      Yeah it’s not about hating cars for all but the most extreme urbanists. It’s about making not using a car a viable option. The fact that it took so much extra time and effort to make the trip...

      Yeah it’s not about hating cars for all but the most extreme urbanists. It’s about making not using a car a viable option. The fact that it took so much extra time and effort to make the trip without a car is exactly why people want better pedestrian infrastructure and public transportation.

      Nobody wants people to be forced to take the bus, they just want the bus and walking to not suck so much.

      18 votes
  25. [6]
    creesch
    Link
    Is this satire?

    Is this satire?

    15 votes
    1. [5]
      paris
      Link Parent
      It really hits all the points of being satire. I assumed it was too.

      It really hits all the points of being satire. I assumed it was too.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        creesch
        Link Parent
        Yup, the alternatives to it not being satire do not reflect all that well on OP if I am being honest.

        Yup, the alternatives to it not being satire do not reflect all that well on OP if I am being honest.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          Weldawadyathink
          Link Parent
          This seems a little mean spirited and unwarranted. /u/gowestyoungman has been an active quality contributor in our community. I disagree with them on many things, but he is honest and earnest in...

          This seems a little mean spirited and unwarranted. /u/gowestyoungman has been an active quality contributor in our community. I disagree with them on many things, but he is honest and earnest in his posts. There are many people who hold similar views that public transit is not adequate or good, and want to rely on their cars. Many people would simply move on with their lives and continue in ignorance. OP went out of their way to experience something that they had never experienced before, and something they were uncomfortable with. While I disagree with their conclusions, this effort to step into someone else's shoes and try something new is the exact mentality we need to encourage other people to have. OP mentioned in a comment here that they will have more empathy for people who ride bikes regularly. Most likely, they will also have more empathy for people who are required to use public transit. This sort of empathy, even if it doesn't directly change minds or governmental policies, will improve the world.

          10 votes
          1. creesch
            Link Parent
            I felt it was clear enough that I mean within the context of this post. I maintain that the way OP did approach this topic does not reflect well on them in this specific post. I haven't...

            I felt it was clear enough that I mean within the context of this post. I maintain that the way OP did approach this topic does not reflect well on them in this specific post. I haven't encountered them elsewhere on Tildes as far as I can recall, so my benchmark is simply this post. As far as I am concerned, the way OP phrased this post and engaged in it does not reflect overly well on them.

            But fair enough, I did do not much better by posting two one line comments as I felt most things were already addressed.

            You said: There are many people who hold similar views that public transit is not adequate or good, and want to rely on their cars.

            And that is a reasonable statement. The post starts with this nugget:

            Those urban activists who hate cars must be nuts.

            Which most charitably I can maybe see as an intentionally derisive statement as to trigger discussion. But given the context of the rest of the post, I can only say that the best next thing is that they simply haven't given the entire issue much though to begin with.
            Because most "anti car" people aren't against cars in general, they are just against the car centric nature of US infrastructure. The sort of infrastructure that leaves it next to impossible for people to reasonably choose public transit or other means of transportation, as it lacks behind car infrastructure. Meaning that where in other countries it is more reasonable for people to decide to not use their car (which they often still will have) people in the US most often simply don't have that option.

            Which the top comment points out, the comment under there, as well as the third top comment and the fourth top comment. None of which OP decided to respond to while they all get to the meat of the issue.

            In fact, the only place where OP had responded when I remote my initial remark was down in this chain, where it turns out that they didn't go out of their way but did not have a choice to begin with.

            No. It was the trip I had to make and the only one I've done in a decade where I had gotten a ride with family on the way down so I had no other way to get home but to take alternate transportation. It is what it is.

            I do applaud OP for getting a bike and being a bit more sympathetic towards people on bikes. But largely they still seem to hold the "you will pry my car from my cold dead hands" attitude whenever it goes to people wanting alternatives next to cars. As can be seen here (screenshot as the thread is collapsed and linking there directly doesn't always work) direct link

            So, to sum it up. The way the OP phrased the initial post. The way they very selectively have responded so far while largely ignoring anyone trying to bring up the infrastructure issues. That all to me still doesn't reflect all that well on them as far as I am concerned. Which also means I don't think my remark is mean spirited, it is an observation based on this post.

            4 votes
          2. gowestyoungman
            Link Parent
            Aw thanks, I appreciate that. I do try to be honest and earnest and Im impressed you even noticed and commented. That's what I like about Tildes. I will admit my initial post was a little...

            Aw thanks, I appreciate that. I do try to be honest and earnest and Im impressed you even noticed and commented. That's what I like about Tildes.
            I will admit my initial post was a little inflammatory but that matched my mood after a frustrating day of travel so I didnt write it just to irritate people off, but some obviously took it personally.

            2 votes
  26. [25]
    TheRTV
    Link
    I like driving my car, so I never understood the passion for being anti-car either

    I like driving my car, so I never understood the passion for being anti-car either

    3 votes
    1. nosewings
      Link Parent
      For starters, not all of us can drive. Some of us have disabilities that make driving impossible, or at least very dangerous. This makes it incredibly frustrating that cities are designed with the...

      For starters, not all of us can drive. Some of us have disabilities that make driving impossible, or at least very dangerous. This makes it incredibly frustrating that cities are designed with the assumption that basically everyone can drive. In addition, car-centric design is not free: we trade away a lot of things for the convenience of cars.

      25 votes
    2. [3]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I love driving. I used to get in my car and go for a relaxing drive in the country, and when I had a sports car, sometimes I'd go to the track just to enjoy driving it with a bit more oomph. I...

      I love driving. I used to get in my car and go for a relaxing drive in the country, and when I had a sports car, sometimes I'd go to the track just to enjoy driving it with a bit more oomph. I like to work on my vehicles, and do so sometimes for fun. I'm a big proponent of having and driving cars, and cars make my life a heck of a lot more convenient.

      I would very much like to see our society's reliance on cars decrease dramatically. And I think it's pretty easy to understand why that would be the case, but for simplicity:

      • cars are bad for the environment
      • cars often kill people
      • lots of people can't use cars

      So my question to you is this: is it actually hard to understand the passion for being anti-car? The points that most people have are really simple, and easy to understand. Are you actually making an effort to listen to and understand the point of being anti-car?

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        TheRTV
        Link Parent
        Yes, I do not understand the passion. Of course I understand the logic. They're basic points that can be made about a lot of things. If I understood the vitriol behind it, then I'd be a member of...

        Yes, I do not understand the passion. Of course I understand the logic. They're basic points that can be made about a lot of things. If I understood the vitriol behind it, then I'd be a member of one of those "fuck cars" communities.

        I might just be a but apathetic, but do you (the community) have the same passion for gun control, flight travel, modern manufacturing/distribution lines? I'm genuinely asking.

        A lot of the modern world comes at the cost of the environment, is not 100% accessible, and may cause deaths. If you're passionate about changing everything, then good for you (seriously). But that sounds exhausting.

        Everyone has their own problems to manage and cars + travel infrastructure is just not in my bandwidth. Could it be better, yes. Do I feel enough emotion to really join in the discussion and meme-ing(?), no.

        2 votes
        1. PuddleOfKittens
          Link Parent
          Well, to attempt some more emotional reasons: Not owning a car saves you $15k/year (might be $10k/year US?), holla holla I can read a book etc while taking public transport Places without many...

          Yes, I do not understand the passion.

          Well, to attempt some more emotional reasons:

          1. Not owning a car saves you $15k/year (might be $10k/year US?), holla holla
          2. I can read a book etc while taking public transport
          3. Places without many cars are far quieter, which is far more peaceful.
          4. Walking/biking to places is a great excuse to get exercise (cmon, nobody wants to do stuff just for the exercise, there's a reason gym membership is such a meme), and very pleasant when not in car hellscape

          Also, since modern suburban sprawl goes hand-in-hand with cars:

          1. If we fixed car-centrism, rent would go down.

          Rent and cars make up the majority of cost of living, while also being a substantial contributor to environmental problems. It's sort of an all-in-one dumpster fire, with something for everyone.

          1 vote
    3. [20]
      gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      Absolutely one of my favorite things to do. I had a passion for driving since I was 4 when I got a tricycle and absolutely loved it so much I wore out the solid rubber front tire. That joy has not...

      Absolutely one of my favorite things to do. I had a passion for driving since I was 4 when I got a tricycle and absolutely loved it so much I wore out the solid rubber front tire. That joy has not only never gone away its expanded into a love for anything on wheels. I've had and have RVs, trucks, multiple kinds of bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, minibikes, gokarts, quads (ATV), and every type of car from a tiny electric grocery getter to a very hot looking classic Corvette. Hell, I even love riding my lawn tractor.

      They'll have to pry keys from my cold dead hands some day but there's no way Im giving up one of life's great pleasures (Im writing this while lying in the extremely comfortable bed in the back of my 40' diesel pusher RV. Life is rough)

      2 votes
      1. [13]
        GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        Have you considered that your enjoyment of driving may be affecting your perception of "urban activists" and leading to the misrepresentation in your original post? I think it's possible you have...

        Have you considered that your enjoyment of driving may be affecting your perception of "urban activists" and leading to the misrepresentation in your original post? I think it's possible you have some defensiveness around driving that's making it difficult for you to understand what proponents of walkable cities and public transportation actually want. I think it's a bit telling that in this thread full of people pointing out that you either accidentally or willfully misrepresented the people you are claiming to rebut, the only comment you responded to was a collapsed one that already agreed with you and only brought up a personal preference.

        22 votes
        1. [12]
          gowestyoungman
          Link Parent
          I have that opinion of ALL activists. In general anyone who is a radical or an evangelist for ANY cause whether its environmental, lifestyle, religious, transportation or diet, is an annoying...

          I have that opinion of ALL activists. In general anyone who is a radical or an evangelist for ANY cause whether its environmental, lifestyle, religious, transportation or diet, is an annoying person to me. People should have their passions and keep them to themselves. I dont preach "get a car" nor do I preach "follow my religion" or "you should be vegan" because I dont think its my place to force my choices on someone else.

          I said I tried going car free for a trip to see what its like. I never claimed to be unbiased.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            GenuinelyCrooked
            Link Parent
            That seems a bit of an unsupportable position. You don't believe that the world should ever change? You believe that people who are struggling should just suffer in silence, and neither they or...

            That seems a bit of an unsupportable position. You don't believe that the world should ever change? You believe that people who are struggling should just suffer in silence, and neither they or anyone else should ever try to improve the systems that they live under? You don't preach "get a car", but in this post whether you mean to or not, you are preaching "public transportation is bad and there's no point in making it better", which means that people must get cars whether they want to or not. You aren't having a neutral impact on the world around you. Advocating for the status quo is still advocacy. You are forcing choices on someone else whether you see that or not.

            27 votes
            1. [2]
              gowestyoungman
              Link Parent
              Im not "forcing" anything on anyone. Thats a silly supposition. I reported my experience and in my experience driving my own vehicle is FAR superior to taking public transport. Do with that what...

              Im not "forcing" anything on anyone. Thats a silly supposition. I reported my experience and in my experience driving my own vehicle is FAR superior to taking public transport. Do with that what you will but you make your own choices.

              1. GenuinelyCrooked
                Link Parent
                You are forcing it exactly as much as people who tout reducing car dependency are. They aren't forcing anything on you, either. You are both advocating a particular policy on improvements to...

                You are forcing it exactly as much as people who tout reducing car dependency are. They aren't forcing anything on you, either. You are both advocating a particular policy on improvements to public transportation and walkable infrastructure (they are for, you are against) and both policies affect the people that live under them. People who live under the policies that you propose are forced to use cars. You are therefore advocating that people be forced to use cars, whether you mean to do that or not.

                You reported your experience of taking public transportation with car-dependent infrastructure. Of course taking your own vehicle is superior under those circumstances. That's what that means. "Urban activists" want to change that infrastructure so that it is not car-dependent, which means that public transportation will be superior in many ways. You, who innately enjoys driving and is able-bodied, may still prefer driving your car, but that doesn't mean that it's an inherently superior form of transportation. It is that way in your area because of policies that you are supporting.

                You also did not respond to any of my other points, and it doesn't seem like you're at all reflecting on the fact that your impression of "urban activists" does not align with reality. I say that not to attack you, but for simple continuity of conversation. I find it's easier to keep track of a discussion if the original claims are not allowed to be forgotten.

                27 votes
          2. [5]
            Felicity
            Link Parent
            Do you entertain at all the idea that maybe you picked the absolute worst case scenario for such a trip and then extrapolated that experience to the entire conversation surrounding cars and their...

            I said I tried going car free for a trip to see what its like. I never claimed to be unbiased.

            Do you entertain at all the idea that maybe you picked the absolute worst case scenario for such a trip and then extrapolated that experience to the entire conversation surrounding cars and their place in society?

            18 votes
            1. [4]
              gowestyoungman
              Link Parent
              No. It was the trip I had to make and the only one I've done in a decade where I had gotten a ride with family on the way down so I had no other way to get home but to take alternate...

              No. It was the trip I had to make and the only one I've done in a decade where I had gotten a ride with family on the way down so I had no other way to get home but to take alternate transportation. It is what it is.

              1. [3]
                Felicity
                Link Parent
                In that case maybe you can appreciate more how people without cars feel being literally forced every single day to make these commutes. If anything, this experience should have reinforced the idea...

                In that case maybe you can appreciate more how people without cars feel being literally forced every single day to make these commutes. If anything, this experience should have reinforced the idea that alternatives to cars should exist, not that urban activists are "wrong".

                20 votes
                1. [2]
                  gowestyoungman
                  Link Parent
                  I do empathize for those people. What a waste of time to have to spend considerably more time and effort just getting from point A to point B and always having to rely on someone else's schedule....

                  I do empathize for those people. What a waste of time to have to spend considerably more time and effort just getting from point A to point B and always having to rely on someone else's schedule. Id hate that.

                  1. Felicity
                    Link Parent
                    Ironically, this is one of the least empathetic takes I've seen on this site and quite honestly I've lost any ounce of respect I still had left for you and this conversation. It seems to me that...

                    What a waste of time to have to spend considerably more time and effort just getting from point A to point B and always having to rely on someone else's schedule. Id hate that.

                    Ironically, this is one of the least empathetic takes I've seen on this site and quite honestly I've lost any ounce of respect I still had left for you and this conversation. It seems to me that you've simply never spoken to anyone disadvantaged in any way and are extremely sheltered from what billions of people go through every day. Framing it as their fault and a "waste of time" is just utterly disconnected. I hope you're enjoying it.

                    5 votes
          3. [3]
            nosewings
            Link Parent
            To me, this is an unthinkable way of being. I mean, think about the kind of temporal chauvinism that this requires. Surely you acknowledge that radical activism was appropriate for past causes;...

            I have that opinion of ALL activists. In general anyone who is a radical or an evangelist for ANY cause whether its environmental, lifestyle, religious, transportation or diet, is an annoying person to me.

            To me, this is an unthinkable way of being.

            I mean, think about the kind of temporal chauvinism that this requires. Surely you acknowledge that radical activism was appropriate for past causes; e.g., slavery. What is so different now?

            11 votes
            1. [2]
              gowestyoungman
              Link Parent
              Slavery was a matter of human rights, treating fellow humans like humans. The Jehovah's Witness neighbor who just invited me to attend a meeting at his hall is a very polite person but that has...

              Slavery was a matter of human rights, treating fellow humans like humans. The Jehovah's Witness neighbor who just invited me to attend a meeting at his hall is a very polite person but that has nothing to do with a human right and everything about championing his particular brand of religion. Im perfectly fine with him being a JW, I think he's a fine person, but he can keep his religion to himself instead of going out door knocking every Saturday to try and bring the entire neighborhood into his church. Same goes for political parties at my door, or someone telling me to get rid of my car to "save the planet". Just go away with your "activism" and evangelism for your "cause du jour", Im not interested.

              1. GenuinelyCrooked
                Link Parent
                Have you actually had a conversation with a person who told you to get rid of your car to save the planet?

                Have you actually had a conversation with a person who told you to get rid of your car to save the planet?

                8 votes
      2. [6]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        You're looking for some kind of fight that will literally never happen. Nobody is going to "pry keys from your cold dead hands" and nobody is going to take any of your vehicles from you. Anti-car...

        You're looking for some kind of fight that will literally never happen. Nobody is going to "pry keys from your cold dead hands" and nobody is going to take any of your vehicles from you. Anti-car activism isn't about that, at all.

        It's almost unbelievable to me that you had a bad time on transit, and came to the conclusion that the people who are clamouring for improvements to transit think that transit is in a good place and that they want people to experience the current situation. If transit was currently good people would not be frustrated with it, and there wouldn't be activism about it.

        Consider if someone said something like this:

        I have seen a lot of anti-war protestors so I went to war. I got shot. I can't believe these protestors want people to get shot all the time!

        It's almost comedically wrong.

        18 votes
        1. [2]
          artvandelay
          Link Parent
          As a car enthusiast myself, some of the hatred I've seen towards urban activists from the car community I think comes from the fact that the internet has wildly misrepresented what urban activism...

          As a car enthusiast myself, some of the hatred I've seen towards urban activists from the car community I think comes from the fact that the internet has wildly misrepresented what urban activism is really fighting for. I think r/fuckcars is one such popular place for anti-car activism and some of the posts I've seen on there are quite insane. I remember seeing posts about slashing SUV's tires to reduce pollution or, like OP was worrying about, simply banning cars and taking them away. It has completely taken away from the fact that people just want to get around a city in a clean, safe, reliable and cheap manner.

          8 votes
          1. CannibalisticApple
            Link Parent
            Agreed, there's certainly a subset that is pretty extreme about hating cars. Recently I saw a video about the history of pedestrian tunnels in LA back when cars first started appearing. Back then...

            Agreed, there's certainly a subset that is pretty extreme about hating cars. Recently I saw a video about the history of pedestrian tunnels in LA back when cars first started appearing. Back then road safety rules weren't very defined yet, and there were many accidents and deaths.

            It was a fascinating bit of history, but the language used had a definite slant against cars in general. It talked about car manufacturers lobbying to push blame for accidents onto pedestrians (fair criticism), but also essentially made it out that roads were stolen from pedestrians for the sake of car manufacturers' greed. That stuck out to me while watching since a lot of the changes just seemed like common sense when you're introducing multi-ton death machines onto roads used by people.

            The overall video wasn't hostile or overly direct with the accusations, but there was a definite bias against the car industry. I can only imagine how extreme others can be about this topic.

            3 votes
        2. [3]
          DefinitelyNotAFae
          Link Parent
          It's possible he was referring to the fact that many people lose their licenses as they get older, or families have to take the keys away to ensure their safety due to vision loss, hearing loss,...

          It's possible he was referring to the fact that many people lose their licenses as they get older, or families have to take the keys away to ensure their safety due to vision loss, hearing loss, and/or cognitive decline and dementia as they age.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            aphoenix
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I considered that, but I think given the context that it was less likely than the idea that he believes that anti-car activists actually want to take cars away. Edit: but you are correct, I should...

            I considered that, but I think given the context that it was less likely than the idea that he believes that anti-car activists actually want to take cars away.

            Edit: but you are correct, I should assume the best. I try to do that and I did not in this case.

            5 votes
            1. DefinitelyNotAFae
              Link Parent
              I respect the emotional response and the reconsideration! I feel similarly about how this was essentially at best missing the point of urban activism, but I'd rather assume that best as much as...

              I respect the emotional response and the reconsideration! I feel similarly about how this was essentially at best missing the point of urban activism, but I'd rather assume that best as much as possible.

              2 votes