In August I drove our Silver Saturn Station wagon across town to see a mechanic. I explained what the car was doing, gave him my cellphone number and took off on a run home. I ran down a fairly busy street then picked up the greenway across town to a few blocks from home. Along the way, a mechanic called and said the repairs would cost $750. After talking with my wife, we decided to bring the car home until we had the money to fix it. In the meantime, we did without the car. We rode our bikes to the grocery, to church, to the library, to work. We rode the bus to those places too. (OK, not church. The bus here doesn’t run on Sundays.)
Along the way, we decided to give ourselves four months without a car, basically until Christmas.
Then as Sept. 28 approached, we decided to donate the car to the St. Vincent de Paul Society (my mother is a Vincentian). Why Sept. 28? That was the day the state of Indiana decided our registration expired. We filled out the form online and within an hour, we were called. I short time later, we got a call from the tow company. It was set. On Friday, Sept. 28, between noon and 3, our car would be towed away. We were to put the keys and title in the glovebox. Then early Friday, the driver of the tow truck called. He was in town and wanted to pick up the car. Sure. By 9:30, we were officially car free.
Chris Balish’s book How to Live Well Without Owning a Car planted the car-free seed. It just took a few years for the seed to germinate.