Wednesday, January 10, 2007

tranport 2007

Our aims in 2007 are to reduce our transport requirements. Having done a transport survey recently, I realized that 40 percent of our journeys were unnecessary, 40 percent off other journeys could be done using alternative transport , and 20 percent were essential journeys that could not be done in any other way than by car.

We live in a rural area and public transport is still not regular enough and cost effective enough to do without a vehicle. This does mean that we will not be selling our car. We will continue to be careful as to which car we use for which journey. When one of the cars is no longer viable it will not be replaced. I did look at getting a different car that would be environmentally viable like a Toyota Prius, which is an interesting family vehicle. If we were in town, such a car would be useful as it generates its own power by recharging a battery while you drive and switches to fuel when the battery is empty and your speed is above 28 miles. There is no doubt that technology offers possibilities in the future for cars that will be less dependent on fossil fuels, but the actual cost of the vehicle currently is prohibiting and is not possible for us. The diesel car which is now 4 years old, will be maintained, cleaned and looked after to enable us to do as many miles as possible without major repairs and costs. As mentioned in previous posts this does mean that the cost per mile we travel will increase but carbon emissions will decrease.
The unnecessary journeys are due to poor planning and wanting to do things on a whim. Better planning should result in less journeys.
We examined what we did socially and whether this could be done in a different way. We aim to live more locally and so in the next few months an exploration will include not only local food but local entertainment, leisure and sports activities ( not all for me but the children as well). The main question has been to look at the implications when for instance we want to go to the movies. That is a 30 mile trip. If we wait a few months for a movie, we could hire it at the local library, not only would the costs be reduced but also the transport to get there.
We will be exploring walking and cycling more, in particular with regards to the children as my mobility is limited however, there is no reason why my son could not walk to school with my DH, and he could buy the paper at the local village store and return. This would be a viable alternative to taking the car to school with the excuse that he needs to go to the village shop and then come home and take the dog for a walk. Both activities could be done together.
I am sure you get the picture. The only way to examine how and why you do things is to keep a journal. When your activities, money and travel requirements are written down you can examine what can and cannot be changed.
Having the car on the drive means that if for any reason we need to use the car, we can, we do not feel a sense of depravation but overall we can think before we leave home and how we plan our journeys.
A bus trip into town is quite expensive so scores low on financial sense, it takes 1 hour as where the car journey takes 30 mins, ( possible on time), then there is no parking to deal with and you have to carry what you shop for so that limits the amount of consumerism possible. The only drawback is that the bus stop is about 1 mile away. An alternative is to drive to the park and ride scheme on the edge of town, take the bus into town and pay less for parking.
I am not saying that every journey made can be changed, but if we think before we leave we can make choices in line with the values we hold dear.
We have bought a family railcard to enable us to take more train journeys at a reduced cost and journeys to visit family and friends abroad will be done using trains instead of planes if possible.
This is about the extent we feel we can work with this year.

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