What would your day look like if you didn’t have a car? Look up the bus schedule and route to get to work. Does a 15-minute drive turn into a journey of an hour or more?
Notice how time waiting for the bus isn’t necessarily factored into the planning. What if the bus doesn’t come on time—or you miss it because it’s running early? You should probably get to the stop with some time to spare to avoid being late to work. And how much are you walking? Are there sidewalks and crosswalks along the way?
How much earlier do you have to wake up to get to work on time?
Now you’re at work. You’d like to run a few errands during your lunch hour. What do you do? Are they within walking distance? Or maybe you could jump on a Citibike? But then how do you carry everything? Best to just sit at your desk and eat the lunch you packed.
Oh, and you’d better reschedule that doctor’s appointment you had in the afternoon; there’s no way you can make it there and back without having to take the rest of the day off.
Work’s over. Time to hop on the bus and take the return journey.
What time is it now?
What happened to your kids when they got out of school? Did a neighbor or relative pick them up? Who got them at the bus stop? Your spouse was having the same kind of day you did—and they work even farther from home, so they’re still not home. Now the kids are hungry and want dinner. You feel the same way.
That nutritious meal you planned suddenly seems like too much work. First, it will take too much time to prepare. Second, you realize that you forgot to buy a key ingredient. Running to the grocery store is out of the question because it will just take way too long. You heat up some processed food and eat.
And now it’s practically time for the kids to get in bed. You feel like you hardly spent any time with your family today because you had to wake up so early and came home so late. Beyond that, you still have so much to do to prepare for tomorrow. Your spouse just got home, but they’re too tired to help.
You’ve got to make your kids’ lunches as well as your own. You’ve got to deal with an email from your son’s teacher that says he’s having trouble with math. How are you going to get him to a tutor?
You just spent the day treading water. Nothing terrible happened, and you got through it, but you’re exhausted, and you do not have time to do anything to improve your situation, such as looking for a job that pays better (so you can get a car) or that’s closer to home (to cut your commute time).
While it’s possible to get around without a car in Cincinnati, it also introduces many complications for the over 20 percent of citizens who do not own a personal vehicle in the city. When you don’t have access to a car, you can’t just run an errand or pop over to a medical appointment. Everyone in your household is affected.