Getting Around Oregon/Washington Without A Car
I have been terribly sick the past week or so. Probably a sinus infection but nothing that needs to get treated. So, I have been just too tired to ride my bike to work. Coincidentally, I have had to travel some far distances for various reasons.
So I wanted to share some ways of getting around for those who don’t own a car and for whatever reason can’t ride their bicycle. I have written before that I don’t own a car, it saves me a lot of money and I have better health for biking and I help the environment.
It’s helpful to live in a state that has great public transportation. Portland is just that kind of city. I can use my app on my phone to make ticket purchases. It’s also very easy to see when the next bus or train arrives, the system here is very well designed.
My city also has Uber and Lyft. I have used Uber multiple times. For the longer distances there are problems with the drivers getting lost on the freeway (so far about 50% of the time). I will try Lyft eventually.
I have used RelayRides (now called Turo) many times in the past and love the service. It’s inexpensive and much more convenient than dealing with a rental car company.
Finally, there is Car2Go which I use a few times a month. If I need to transport something heavy or if the weather is just too nasty for my taste then I hop in a Car2Go. It’s also nice when I have visitors who like to see more far off places without having to walk. The downside is having to carry the Car2Go card with you which has a one-time cost of $35.
And finally, I walk. Walking 3 miles now is just a piece of cake. For distances up to 3 miles I actually prefer to walk. It’s not that taking my bike is hard, but having to pack the tire pump and spare tube and tools and a lock is more than I care to deal with for a short trip.
I also should mention getting rides from others. I am blown away by how friendly and helpful coworkers and friends are here in the NW. Nurses, docs, security guards and friends all offer me rides regularly even when completely out of their way. I have to work on putting my pride aside and saying yes more often, that’s a work in progress.
Finally, I recommend combining a few of these methods together to optimize convenience and cost. If I go from Portland to my Vancouver clinic using Uber (15-17 miles) I will likely spend $35. I could bike part of the way and take Uber for the rest. Or Uber in one direction and bike back (my bike folds up so I’ve done this several times). Also, getting Uber to just drop you off near the train station or biking to the train station is another way to cut costs.