Alternative Forms of Transportation

Transportation week at Fiscal Fizzle continues with a look at alternative forms of getting from point A to point B.

As gas prices begin to creep up again, suddenly we’re all freaking out once more about how much gas prices are going to hurt our budget.

But as car-dependent as we have become, there are always options. In some areas of the country like (ahem) Florida, it’s tough to get around without a car unless you live in a large city with well-established and properly financed transportation networks.

But even here, there are alternatives. So I have hope that that’s the case in other parts of the world, too. Here are options to consider if you’re looking for time away from your car:

  • Bicycles – Possibly the most popular alternative to the car since the age of transportation began. In dense urban areas, these often turn out to be even faster than cars, both to drive and to park. They are also a great way to lose a couple of inches from the waistline.
  • Public Transportation (Rail, Bus, etc.) – While effective public transportation networks are typically limited to large cities, there are ways to get around just about everywhere with some form of public transport. Find out what your options are and whether it’s worth it.
  • Motorcycles – While considered “unsafe” by the general public, and approaching the cost of a car, these gas-sippers can be extremely light on the wallet when it comes down to a mile-for-mile comparison.
  • Scooters – These “mini-bikes” are not only for the European-inclined. They are light and agile, and usually much less expensive than motorcycles. In certain areas of the country, I also wouldn’t be caught dead riding in one (ironically, for fear of dying). But they are viable in many situations.
  • Carpooling – Packing three or four people in a single car does wonders for overall fuel efficiency of the trip, not to mention you can use the car pool lane! So find family members, friends or neighbors to carpool with and make it work!
  • Car Sharing – Services like Zipcar are becoming more and more popular around the country. Even if it’s not available where you live, how about sharing a car with a couple of family members or neighbors (sort of like carpooling, minus the pooling)? Be creative – set up agreements that will benefit everyone.
  • Segways – These seemingly new-age transport vehicles are an interesting mix between pedestrian accessory and scooter-like vehicle. If you live in a dense area and have some cash to burn, this may be a good alternative.

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