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View from a Window Seat
View from a Window Seat

Three months before I turned 18, my boyfriend forced me to get my drivers license. Up until that moment, I thought he was perfectly content being my chauffeur/significant other. I was wrong. Despite my fear of getting behind the wheel, he taught me how to drive (my mother was too nervous) and gave me a deadline. I would get my drivers license, or I would get a bus pass.

In that instance, I went with the license.

While my pushy high school boyfriend helped me get over my fear of driving, I never really grew to enjoy it. Save for the occasional slow wind on some back country road at sunset, I have always preferred to be the passenger. This might also have something to do with the fact that I can’t really stay awake in a car for very long. I blame this on my parents driving me around as a baby to make me fall asleep. I’ve been programmed like another one of Pavlov’s dogs.

When my car broke down for good this past November, buying a new one was not in the cards. The thought of finding, buying, and being responsible for another car seemed positively daunting. I wasn’t just unmotivated, I was uninterested.

So, I went to the IndyGo website, found out where to get a bus pass, and how to get to work. This was surprisingly easy using their Trip-Planning program. My boarding stop was on the corner, right across the street from my house, and my arrival stop was just a half-block away from my job.

It was perfect.

This isn’t to say that IndyGo doesn’t have some issues. Some of the buses are on their last leg, the stops need better maintenance, and there should definitely be more places that you can purchase passes. But with the right planning, you can get anywhere you want to be on the bus and save a lot of money overall.

Gas is at $4 or more a gallon, and I just won a 31-Day bus pass and an awesome tote from People for Urban Progress. When I calculate how much I’ve saved by not driving, it blows my mind.

I won’t lie to you, it get’s a little annoying not having a car. I like to go places when I want to go, and it’s hard to maintain that level of spontaneity when you have to wait for your next bus. Fortunately, I live on the #8 line and that runs every 15 minutes, but once I get off the #8, things can get a little tricky with the timing.

Eventually, I would like to have a car again. Something that would get me to my family in Fort Wayne, take me to grocery store at 1 AM, and take me to my friend’s homes to babysit their children. I do miss that level of autonomy. But I don’t think I’d use it for my work commute, or a trip to the IMA, or even downtown to grab brunch on a Sunday.

The bus has become a new way I see this city. I met my new friend Whitney on the bus, I like to read on the bus, and I like talking to bus drivers at 7:45 AM about comic books and superhero movies. If I were you, I’d give it a try.

It’s better than drooling on a co-worker in a carpool.