Comment 81102

By Chris Angel (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 11:55:51 in reply to Comment 81062

The desire NOT to own an automobile is nothing new. I tried relying on public transit, walking and cycling from 1973-1978. I had a drivers licence but I did not want to own a conventional vehicle. It seemed to me that many people were working largely to own a vehicle while the commute was depleting the vehicle. Like a dog chasing its tail the process never ended. I did not enjoy driving enough to participate in this or the "trade in every 3 years" or status rituals associated with automobile ownership. I thought I was prepared to wait either for a vehicle not based on planned obsolecence or that I would be satisfied with the public transit option. However employment is a neccesity and public transit at the time was not up to providing access to where I needed to work. I capitulated and bought a vehicle. Public transit is somewhat better today but it is still not very good. By carefully choosing where you reside it may be possible to rely on transit to get you to work. However given the average employment duration these days you are likely to move every 3-5 years; perhaps less frequently if you are lucky enough to find two succesive jobs in the same area. Yes there are still conflicting forces at work but a public transit commute is feasable for more people now than ever before. This trend is likely to continue. High unemployment and the service industry / part-time / no benefit / low wage employment trends will continue as well at least for the next few years. This will make vehicle ownership impractical for anyone in that situation. Though I really do not enjoy negativity these concerning trends may last longer than just the next few years. Ontario's industrial based economy has been decimated. It was shipped to the south eastern US & Mexico and from there to China & India. It is not coming back without a political will that does not exist at this time in any provincial or national party. Conventional vehicle ownership will at laest be questioned by more people than ever before. This is not a left / right political thing. I think from your comments you feel it is "the left" calling the sanctity of car ownership into question when there is no such trend. It really is a matter of simple logic. Given the state of the North American economy and the increasing cost of vehicle ownership how could it be otherwise? I think the kernel of logic in your arguement is that perhaps temporarily there may be an incremental trend away from vehicle ownership and that this will disappear when the economy improves. I have no doubt that some will purchase cars as the economy or their personal finances improve. Others will discover they don't really need or want to own one. In the middle ground many will find (as a family) they do not need two vehicles or that they are well served owning one highway capable vehicle and one 70Km /Hr "town" vehicle. I know they don't exist right now but they could and they should. It would help rebuild that decimated industrial base in this province. Keep an open mind, the trend away from car ownership is not huge right now, people still love their cars as did their grandparents. The factors affecting car ownership are different now. We live in a landscape of dollar stores, franchised business staffed by minimun wage part-time workers and the remains of an industrial economy uncommitted to this province or even this country. The day of the horse & buggy ended with the mass produced automobile. The transition to alternative transportation will not be as revolutionary a change but I am quite certain of its arrival by sheer necessity.

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