Feb 26, 2015

Seattle’s Transportation Changers

By Cassie Maylor

Think about the car you have now. How many times do you take it into get repairs? What will your next car be?  Powered by water? Or electricity? Will it fly? Will you even need one? But suppose it’s cheaper than the one you have now? And suppose it’s cheaper to not have one all together.

Transportation is traditionally a big thing to people in the younger generation.  In the last four or five decades it’s been a milestone for a young adult to receive or purchase their first car.  But what if, instead of taking out a loan to afford a car, you took the opportunity to use alternative kinds of public transportation instead?  There are many different options in the Seattle area that, if utilized, could grow into a very popular and common transportation networks!

During Sustainable Seattle’s 2015 Sustainability Leadership Awards in January; Pronto Cycle Share won the transportation changer category out of a field of five nominees.  Pronto Cycle Share is connecting Seattle though the sharing of bicycles.  They provide a fast, low cost and flexible transportation alternative. You can choose to try the bicycle sharing system, or jump in and purchase a membership! You may need to invest a little in a bike lock, your own helmet, or reflective safety gear but other than that this is a great organization that provides a full service to the people of Seattle! The other top 5 nominees for the transportation changer category included FREEWHEEL Carbon Free Cargo, Car2Go, Mobile Bicycle Rescue and Uber. 
Here is a quick look at each of these transportation alternatives and resources.  FREEWHEEL Carbon Free Cargo works with 14 local businesses and delivers products or product shipments to homes, offices, and other businesses without the carbon pollution that comes along with other delivery services.  FREEWHEEL employees believe in putting their values into action and getting things done, and that is what they have been doing for the last year because the business is growing fast.

Car2go works hard to empower and inspire people to live a more eco-friendly life by providing convenience and encouraging members and users to drive more efficiently.  This option is great for the on the move person looking for something quick and easy for one way trips to fast transport when running late, and is easiest for the smartphone user.

MBR or Mobile Bicycle Rescue is exactly what it sounds like! They provide everything from a quick tune up to a full assembly or inspection. This organization would be a life-saver for any bicycle commuter in need of a quick repair or the avid bike rider.

Uber is an organization known around the globe and they have many drivers in many major cities across the US. The Seattle Uber system is the best alternative to driving your own car and in a way is similar to the taxi system. 

Here are some facts you need to be convinced of to decide not buy a new car. In 2012, the Energy Information Administration published that the average household spent $2,912 on gasoline alone, which translates to about 4% of a family's income. That year gasoline averaged $3.70 a gallon.

·       price to own $2,151 (annually)
·       price to cover insurance $910 (annually)
·       price to pay for gas (2012) $866 (annually)
·       price to cover repairs $375 (annually)
·       the average american owns 1.9 vehicles and spends about 1.5% of annual income on auto repairs

(sources: GasBuddy.com, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Association of Insurance Commissioners Statistics, CarMD.com)

Using these innovative and sustainable transportation alternatives can significantly lower your carbon footprint. More importantly to a lot of Americans, is that it will significantly lower your annual transportation costs. Any person, active environmental steward or not, can make these changes and see a positive impact on their lives. In Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man, he says at the end of his epilogue,

“The question isn’t whether or not I make a difference. The question is whether I want to be the type of person who tries. We can can all make a difference. We all have the responsibility to make a difference.”

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