Tuesday, February 23, 2010

US - Addicted to Cars a.k.a Car Stories

BMW E92 Kit M [ I ]Image by Xabier.M via Flickr
Car Story 1:I and my colleague were going to a restaurant in a car and we saw a US citizen stop and give way to pedestrians.My colleague asked me to think of how the situation would be in India, where pedestrians will be waiting for a long time to cross a road. I said that they can afford to do that because people on cars is far greater than people walking on road. If people in India wait for passersby on the road then, they will be waiting for ever. Now you can understand how the situation is. One of my friends mom came for visiting US and she said that there are more cars here than people. If you are a first time visitor to the US, what strikes you is the ubiquity and indispensability of cars.

Car Story 2:You cannot do anything here without cars. People say that the first thing you have to get here is SSN. But I would say its not that. It is a car. Yes. If you dont have it, you are at the mercy of the cab drivers. I wanted to go to Walmart to buy some items. If it was in Hyderabad, I would have taken a bus and gone for shopping and even after changing some buses atleast I would have surely gone and shopped and returned. But here there is no such way. It is approximately three miles from my place. And I cannot walk till there. I had to book a cab, go shop and return in a cab.

Car Story 3: But I am not a person who gives up so easily. I wanted to explore public transport options. Usually I go to and come from office with a colleague and our journey takes approximately half an hour each way. And today my colleague is on leave. But I had to go to the office. So I looked up on google for the public transit options. There was a railway station in walkable distance (Lucky mee..!! ) . Here all the public transit options are towards New York and there are no cross cutting routes. Hence I had to go all the way to New York and then go back to where I work. So the up journey from Edison to New York was one hour and from New York to BernandsVille a station near my office took another hour. So totally a half an hour drive took two hours on public transit without car. And that railway station was nearly one mile from our office. So I had to walk all the way in the chilly weather. Thats when I decided the first thing I would get if I am going to stay for some time in US is a car.

Car Story 4: One of my colleagues took pity on my condition and offered to drop me home. It felt like ARR music to my ears. We were sitting in the car and he asked me what is the exit which I should take on my way home. I told I didn't know it and suggested that we stop on the way and ask someone where we should go. He pointed me to the road and asked me whom to ask. Everyone had a car and where whizzing past without giving even a look sideways. We were not able to find a single person on the road. Of course, the US people had a solution for it though. It is the ingenious GPS solution. You enter the address in the GPS machine and it will give you driving directions.. how cool it is.. but still not helpful at all to one who doesn't have a car.. 

But with this 4 stories I am more or less convinced that US is addicted to cars and due to the non-dependence on public transport, it is not improving to service additional routes. Hope you enjoyed this post. Comments are welcome... :)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]