Sunday, June 19, 2011

Car2Go and Cap Metro

There are many times that I see what should be or can be, but my visions always seem to be before their time.  I see a world with Public Transportation throughout every city and that connects every city, even rural areas.  Renewable energy sources power the public transportation vehicles, and they might even allow for small electric cars to easily board inter-city monorails, much like a ferry, so people could take their cars with them, but not have to drive.

My vision of improved public transportation is becoming reality, slowly, but there has to be a change in public perception about the benefits and rewards.  There are many rewards, just look at some of the great public transit systems in New York, Washington DC, and even in Dallas.  Less traffic, less reliance upon fossil fuels, more time to for yourself as you travel, and it's a great way to meet people or even people watch.

Not owning a vehicle anymore has presented some challenges, but thankfully here in Austin we have Car2Go and Capital Metro, not to mention many car rental companies with electric or hybrid car rentals.  Car2Go's website provides car locations of their now 300 cars and you can reserve one online or through an app on your phone.  The price is great when you only need a car every now and then.

Using the buses on Cap Metro, or even enjoying the light rail, allows me to keep in touch with every day people.  It saves me money, a lot of money, as a monthly bus pass is only $30, and I can usually get around town easily.  There are areas for improvement and expansion, and hopefully our light rail initiative will be approved by the Austin City Council.

I'm still surprised at how far behind Austin is with public transportation, but this is our Texas Capital and we should have the best public transportation in the state.  Hopefully, we will have a great public transit system here that rivals those of other metropolitan areas, but for now, I enjoy riding Cap Metro and using Car2Go.

Thought for now:  What are you doing to improve public transportation in your area?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Demp the Pump Day

Thursday, June 16th is the National Day to Dump the Pump and ride Public Transortation.

I've been relying upon Public Transportation for over a month now locally, and even longer internationally.  I've seen how cities that provide excellent and well thought out public system can improve the lives of those living in the city.  I can go any where in D.C, Dallas, New York, and L.A.  Our country needs an improved public transportation system that not only services each city, but provides routes to nearby towns and villages.  Public Transportation should connect us all to our homes, friends, and work.  

On Thursday at 11 AM at Brush Park, downtown Austin, Capital Metro is having a free concert.  It will be a great time to relax, listen to some jaxx, and socialize with people.  For more info, visit the Cap Metro SiteL


Dump the Pump: Save Money, Ride Transit. June 16, 2011.
On June 16, 2011 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and public transportation systems across the country will celebrate the 6th Annual National Dump the Pump Day.
In these tough economic times with high gas prices, everyone is looking for a way to save money. National Dump the Pump Day encourages people to ride public transportation (instead of driving) and save money.
Riding public transit is the quickest way to beat high gas prices. The latest APTA Transit Savings Report shows that a two person household that downsizes to one car can save – on the average – more than $10,000 a year.
The online toolkit below is designed to help get the word out about this year’s 6th Annual National Dump the Pump Day.
If you are participating this year, please let Virginia Miller know by sending her an email You can also contact Virginia Miller with any questions.
Thanks for all your help in spreading the word about the many benefits of using public transit, including saving money!


Other Resources

  • Add a fuel calculator to your website so visitors can see how much they would save by using public transportation. Link to the fuel calculator on the website.
  • Add a carbon calculator to your website, too!  Just link to the carbon calculator on website.
  • Use the monthly APTA Transit Savings Report to show how much public transportation is saving people – on a national level and in 20 cities. Here is the link to the most recent report. Be sure to watch for the new Transit Savings Reports in May and June.
  • A recent APTA report, Potential Impact of Gasoline Price Increases on U.S. Public Transportation Ridership, 2011-2012, projects how increased gas prices will lead to greater ridership at  $4, $5, and $6 a gallon.  Here is a link to a press release on it, which also contains a link to the report.

Print-Ready Button Art

Be Energy Independent! Ride TransitI Dumped the Pump for TransitAddicted to Oil? Try Transit

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dump the Pump

As part of the National Dump the Pump day, Cap Metro is having a contest, so I submitted my essay about 'riding on the Metro.'   The prizes are good, like n iPad2 (32GB WiFi), three month's worth of Capital Metro passes, four tickets to an Austin Chronicle "Paper Cuts" concert, a commuter gift bag and a free Car2Go membership with 120 free minutes.  Here's the essay I submitted.

"Riding on the Metro"
Even though I cannot hear much in crowded noisy places, when I ride the Cap Metro I hear a song by Berlin, "The Metro".  No, the song isn't playing on the bus or the rail, it's in my head.  There's a lot of music in my head, and I rely upon it to help me through troubling times.  Recently I lost the majority of my hearing, discovered that driving gave me headaches, and thus, I quit driving.  Now, I'm 'riding on the Metro' daily.  

Some might say that Public Transportation is only for the low income, but I see people from every walk of life on the buses and trains.  Talking with some of these people provides insight into the lives of others, and even if there isn't talk, my creative mind ponders the life stories of my fellow riders, "Who is that man in the wheel chair and where is he headed today?  I see him every so often and remember seeing him at Target."

Thanks to modern technology, finding my way around is getting easier.  I can text my location and destination and obtain route information.  I can use the QR Code now being implemented in various locations, it is just a simple click and read to know route schedules, the information phone line is always helpful (but I rely upon the other methods because of my hearing issues), and the Cap Metro website provides schedules, routes, and information.  I even use Google Maps to determine how to get around town, as it has the option to include Public Transportation as your mode of transportation.

Yes, I'm 'riding on the Metro', I've dumped the pump, and I'm discovering small businesses and interesting locations, not to mention meeting some interesting characters, throughout Austin.  I'm walking more and gaining better health through the exercise.  These days I'm actually enjoying the ride, as I get to see what is around me, discover areas I would not normally travel through, and learning that Public Transportation is a benefit to society.  We are Austin, we should have more light rail lines, uniquely weird ones, that reflect the culture of Austin, with every rail stop being a transfer station to area buses.  Can't you see it Austin?  No more traffic woes, relaxing while you ride to work, special events, or even a night out on the town (think about no more DWI's).  Public Transportation and Cap Metro can take us there, so sing along with me, I'm 'riding on the Metro.' 

Thought for now:  Are you willing to Dump the Pump for one day?  What can you do to improve Public Transportation?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stress Relief

Stress isn't good for anyone, especially those with compromised immune systems.  Over the years I have learned many ways to deal with my stress, many of them a major frustration to friends/family, like expressing my anger and depressions.  There are some situations where I cannot control the stress, only how I deal with it.  The events of today didn't allow for my usual margarita afternoon, but the end result was stress relief.  After meeting with ASA today, I ended up having to walk home (3 hours) in the Austin heat.  My mind, that same mind with all of its creative abilities, is also the culprit of many of my issues, so while walking my mind was running full throttle and not in a good way, in the most destructive of ways.

The Universe always seems to know what I need in order to pull myself back from the brink of destruction, and today was no exception.  Walking (as I call them - my walk-a-bouts) provided the energetic release, not to mention physical exercise.  While walking, I stopped to obtain a drink to cool my heavily sweat soaked body, and I checked emails.  A smile slowly formed as I read one particular email, as it was from a young man I had recently met and spent time with.  It was a good email and brightened my day.  The rest of the walk home was more enjoyable.

Upon arriving home, I checked emails again.  This time to find the real stress relief I was looking for.  After some issues with Social Security, the Texas Health & Human Services, and Medicare, along with knowing that project incomes wouldn't be seen until later in the month or even next month, I was very stressed over this month's income.  Relief was provided through the assistance of ASA, so now I can relax, focus on writing, work on projects, and enjoy life as I have become accustomed to doing.

There are many types of stress, and we all have to find our own ways of relieving stress.  So instead of enjoying margaritas, I walked, talked, screamed, and enjoyed a delightful email from a handsome young man.  Talk about stress relief.  

Now, I'm relaxing in my apartment working on one of the remodel concepts for a currently unremarkable home in Austin.  Here's one of the concepts:  The house is currently a one story ranch style with only a few notable Architectural details.  This concept adds a second story, creates a new entry, and creates a usable yard.
This is what I love to do, design, model, create, and it is my most effective form of stress relief.