"Car-less" in Orange County-Tips
I know things are bad when I am excited to see gas at $4.53 a gallon. Luckily I have been working on my “Carectomy.” Living in Orange County my whole life, I’ve known people who don’t have cars, but never thought I could live without one. That was until a few months age when I decided to see if I could go a whole week without driving my car. The primer was when I found out that my work pays for public transportation, and that there was a bus stop right outside my complex. I was able to get to and from work in about forty minutes, only twenty minutes longer than if I drove. Next, thanks to reading quite a few articles in LA Metblogs: Biking in LA I came to realize that biking to work was doable for me. Thanks to “W” and the economic stimulus check, I promptly bought a bike, and after a few weeks of getting some legs under me, I started the 5.7 mile trip (each way) to and from work. While tiring, I realized that it benefited economically, physically, and environmentally. Most of all, I found out that it is possible to go “car-less” in Orange County if one plans properly.
Here are some tips I have found useful:
- Plan the route. I personally use Google Transit when I need to plan out my route or check bus times. One can also go to OCTA and route the trip, or download the schedules for the buses that are used regularly.
- It is good to know the schedule, and try not to cut things too short. Especially if one is going to work. Buses can sometimes have a +/- of a couple minutes, so it is better to be earlier than late.
- Be prepared if one has a bike, and the rack is full, one will have to wait for the next bus.
- If bus riding will be a regular occurrence, I would suggest to purchase a monthly pass from OCTA
- Wear a helmet
- Know the rules of the road. A bike has the same rights and responsibilities as an automobile.
- Make sure the bike is in good working condition.
- Scout/plan the route. OCTA and the city of Irvine both provide downloadable maps of the bike lanes and trails. Get a feel of the terrain and plan the appropriate route taking into consideration the hills, etc… Bike Metro is a great site to plan a trp and see the terrain when it is working.
- Give yourself time to cool down/ change if needed.
- Plan trip accordingly. See the Metrolink Train site for schedules and fares.
- Get to station early, especially if you have not purchased tickets. The trains won’t wait.
- Much like the bus, know the previous and next trains to and from the destination.
I know that on most days, I don’t have to drive my car. That does not mean that I don’t drive my car on occasion. It is nice to only have to fill the tank every couple weeks is a wonderful alternative. There are always extenuating circumstances that require the car, but after so many years of thinking that it wouldn’t work for me, I found out I was wrong.
edited to add Bike Metro link