Modern apps make transit SO much easier than I remember it being back in the old days of paper schedules and memorized bus routes.
It's amazing to me that I've ridden buses and trains in lots of cities
in the US and Europe, but I've rarely ridden a bus in my home city since
I got my first car in late 1997. When I lived in Boston, I was all transit all the time. In the Bay Area, I'd often ride BART and would occasionally ride a bus in San
Francisco, since driving there is SO not fun, and parking is the worst! If I was staying in the East Bay I'd either drive, walk, or opt to stay home and avoid traffic completely. In Portland the city traffic is usually reasonable, and parking can always be
found if you're patient, so my default (lazy) choice is to drive. Honestly, I remain proud
of the fact that the city is driveable - but let's face it, using
transit or biking is a big factor in keeping it liveable here!
Thanks to iPhone apps, I've started expanding my horizons beyond borrowing cars and using Car2Go. The most useful is PDX Bus:
Another terrific app is called RideScout. I tell it where I am and where I want to go, and it calculates how long it will take and what it will cost, depending on how I choose to get there.
For example, looking at the above options, at first it seems like a no-brainer to just drive. BUT when you factor in that it's a round trip, so I'd have to find and pay for parking, suddenly the car really costs more like 40-50 minutes and almost $6 in gas, and $2-3 in parking. The bus remains about an hour, 1:10, and $5. If it were lighter and warmer out, I would totally hop on my bike to burn some calories before (and after!) I hit happy hour.
I've been without a car for three months now, but I'm clearly still getting in the groove of using alternate transportation options. I'm really glad I didn't rush out and get a new-to-me vehicle, though I'm still certain that will come with the new year!