The beginnings of a one car family

One Car Family

Before moving to Calgary we maintained two cars. We lived in a suburban community north of Toronto and both of us commuted into the city (1 hour each way for my husband and 30-35 minutes each way for me) and based on our work locations, transit and carpooling were not viable options.  Even on the weekends based on how the community was designed we still needed to have two have cars available; which pretty much was the norm for most if not all two-parent families in our area.  In fact I can only think of one family in my social network that was a one car family.  Every once and awhile we talked about how we could make it work for our us but we just couldn’t think of a way given the location of our jobs, the community layout, and the extra challenges associated with needing to transport a child in a wheelchair.

So when we decided to make the move to Calgary, we wanted to find a home in the inner city where we only needed one car and then either one of us could easily take transit as needed.   The first step was finding an affordable home in  a central area where a bus ride to downtown would be easy and quick.  Somehow we managed to find a great house and only 20  minutes away from downtown via a bus ride.

The next step was for one of us to find a job in the downtown corridor.  Note: My husband and I were in a friendly competition who could find a job first as the other one would have to stay home for the time being.  My husband  recently won this challenge 😦

As Murphy’s Law goes his new job of course is not located downtown but rather just south of the airport.  Even if you are not familiar with Calgary, airports are rarely located downtown, so needless to say our wonderful plan of having the person with the job take transit went out the window. Sure he could technically still take transit but it might take him 1.5 to 2 hours a day each way.

As a result, my husband takes our one and only vehicle to work. The girls were already taking a school bus to school so there was no adjustment on their end.  I am the one most affected and so far it is actually working out quite well except for my one attempt to take the transit last week and ended up having to pay $25 for a cab ride home. I ended up going in the wrong direction and didn’t have time to make up for my mistake. and the situation was totally rider error in not reading the bus directions properly. Doh!

There is no question that when Reilly has an appointment it requires a lot more planning and coordination, especially on my side.  For once London is on her bus, we then take my husband to work and Reilly and I would either go to her appointment. At the end of the day I would collect both girls off their respective buses and then go pick him up. It is not the most convenient process but I keep reminding myself that the 30-40 minutes it takes me to drop him off and go to our destination is pretty much equivalent to what it used to take me just to get to work back in the Toronto area.  My husband has also has started to make car pool connections with a work colleague who lives in the area which is great and also plans to bike to work in the summer months (not so great as I worry about the route he would take).

Although there are some inconveniences with only having one car,  we love the fact that we are a one car family (or at least I do).  I love it because we are saving quite a bit of money not having to maintain a second car (insurance, gas, maintenance, license costs, etc.) especially since we are down to one income, and also that we are doing our bit to reduce our environmental footprint, and it is also probably saving us some additional money on indirect expenditures such as unnecessary shopping trips.  Cough, cough, sputter, not that I was guilty of that in the past. Nope, definitely not 🙂

It will be certainly interesting to see how we fare over the coming months but I think it will only get easier as we get better at planning, making social connections for car pooling arrangements, taking advantage of the better weather eventually coming to us, and becoming more familiar with the Calgary transit system 🙂

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