By now I’ve come across several stats showing that young folks seem to be in no hurry to get their drivers licenses. And for the first time since World War II, more old cars are gettin’ scrapped then new ones built. Listen to public radio and you here tales of remorseless loyal listeners donating their mere decade or so old cars to their public radio network to be scrapped with no plans to replace them. In half empty big cities, transit addicts dream of a day when cars will disappear and they’ll be free to ride their high speed trains and bicycles everywhere.

Except in real life, it don’t work that way. The most transit dependent metroplex in America is New York City, and after a couple centuries they’ve built a truly impressive network of subways, commuter rail, and even a 150 MPH high speed rail line, ‘cept for all the speed restrictions for bridges, switches, yards, stations, and the inevitable slow orders. New York City also seems to have the lowest proportion of licensed drivers in the adult population of anywhere in the country, which explains why it seems to be the easiest place in the country to get a driving job. And while those transit dependent Gotham dwellers seem to do fine in their native near carless habitat, a job transfer outside of that metroplex they’re so well adapted to makes them economic lunch.

None the less, I know a few idealistic folks in places not so transit endowed like Minneapolis that are trying to addict themselves to what “catch as can” transit is available in Minneapolis, mainly buses. I think back how my life would have been different if I had been similarly transit dependent when I lived in Minneapolis. The first decent job I had, the one that’s now providing the pension so I can afford to ride around and write this blog instead of work, was nine miles away in the suburbs. I biked or cycled to work at times, but after the last bus ran around sundown or when it was snowin’ the car came in damn handy. Suffice to say, transit dependency would have left me a wage slave in a low wage job within walking distance of home.

And that’s just the income limiting aspect of transit dependency, how about shopping? My old ‘hood in Minneapolis does have a big CUB Foods store that’s halfway cheap, but in a neighborhood where they’ll mug ya for groceries at least bicycle speed is required, and a big ol’ pickup truck is preferred. Building supplies or affordable durable clothes and such? Fleet Farm is 12 miles away in the burbs. Granted, there’s a Home Creepo two miles away, but ever try to haul a 4 by 8 sheet on a bicycle or bus? Warehouse stores for the really thrifty? Costco is five miles away in the burbs. And all of the above require at least one if not several bus transfers… You might get the 4 by 8 sheet by one driver if it’s a slow day, but not all of ’em!

But some folks just have to learn the hard way, and a whole generation is being brainwashed that cars are evil and they should become “transit dependent” on a wet dream transit system that will never be built. Like the middle aged subway riding New Yorker forcibly transfered to Minnesota, they’ll pay a fortune in lessons to learn to drive, another fortune buying their first car, and then wreck said first car learning to drive in winter.

But the ability to commute to a good job and get good deals at Costco in the ‘burbs… Will make it worth every cent and white knuckle!

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