Add Some Advice For The 1 Out Of 3 People Who Could Not Afford A $500 To $600 Car Repair Without Going Into Debt


The days I’ve commuted via driving to Boston the commute takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Taking the commuter rail it’s a 45 fairly consistent 1 hr commute.

And while on the train I can do work. There are commuter trains into NYC where you can take college classes during your commute.


Funny you should mention that. My spouse has relatives in that area. Her dad was recently house shopping. The prices there are insane. I’m talkin’ the same or higher than similar houses in the 1st and 2nd tier Twin Cities suburbs go for - which as you know being from the area, if you can afford that much for a house, you probably aren’t poor.

Her dad can’t afford that much for a house, so he had to buy a house 40 miles out of Aberdeen. Since you mentioned the area, you’re probably familiar with it, so you know that if you don’t live right in Aberdeen, you have to drive forever to get anywhere. There are lots of poor people in the area, and they all have cars because cars are a requirement.

To the people wondering why some of us are advocating for public transportation on a site dedicated to cars… Well, it’s simple. Cars are expensive. Those of us who can afford them without financial strain are very fortunate. Those who cannot - it would be nice if there were an option whereby they didn’t have to.

After all, if this were Horse Talk, no one would object if we told broke people that they shouldn’t buy a horse. Horses are luxury items for those fortunate enough to be able to afford them, and it’s a good thing they are because if horses were required in order to survive, it would put a lot of strain on people who didn’t have the means.

I’d like to see cars move more toward that. They already have in the big cities - a great number of people in NYC do not own cars, even if they’re well-off, because cars are simply not necessary and in fact are burdensome there.

But other cities, like mine, the Minneapolis area, it’s very difficult to do everything you need to do if you don’t have a car. Buses don’t go where you need them to go - for example if I want to take a bus from my surburb to the next surburb over, I have to take a bus first into Minneapolis, about 15 miles away, and then transfer to another bus that goes the 15 miles back to the other city. A 30 mile trip for a net distance of 2 miles. That’s stupid. I’d spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on a bus just to get to work, and the grocery. I need a car.

I’m lucky - I can afford it. But what about the people in Brooklyn Center, one of the poorest suburbs here? It’d be a great help for them to not have a car, but they have no choice, because public transit here is terrible (and the legislature is busy trying to cut routes by 40%, so it’s not going to get better any time soon).


Actually I haven’t been there in years. Just picked the town off the top of my head. So what people seem to be saying is the reason we build mass transit is for poor people? Really? That’s the purpose of mass transit? Transportation for poor people that can’t afford a car? So if they were not poor, they would prefer to have a car and not have to take the bus or train? Is that really what this all boils down to? I’ll shut up but kinda like a guy was complaining about no jobs in the inner city but at the same time over 70,000 cars a day were coming in just from the south to central Minneapolis. Must have been some jobs there or maybe they were all looking for work.


Beware, even though Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, you may be in for a property tax sticker shock.


Good summary of what % of mass transit is covered by the fares:


Although I’ve said it before I’ll repeat myself. In the early 1970s jobs were non existant in North Mississippi and I needed to pay debts and support myself so I moved to the Bay area and quickly found a job. In 2 years I paid off my debts including a car and put a few dollars away. But with the debt off my back the stress of dealing with commuting 13 miles into Oakland each day made the slower life back home look better. I returned and found that working for myself 12 hours a day was better than working 8 hours and spending 4 hours inching along the Nimitz. So here I remain.


I’m not sure if that’s the purpose

That said, in my neck of the woods, I’d say a very large percentage of people who use mass transit daily . . . especially buses . . . are poor. I don’t think they’d be riding the bus, if they had an alternative


I used the park-and-ride bus downtown when I was on jury duty because it’s so hard to park by the courthouse or anywhere else downtown. One time I shared that bus with one of the lawyers on that case.

Impoverished skiers waiting to get on the UTA ski shuttle bus to go back to their Salt Lake City homes and hotels. Probably had to rent their equipment too.


That doesn’t change my opinion

Nice try, though :smile:


The daily commute is one thing, but I couldn’t live without a car as far as the rest of my life goes. How do you get 10 bags of groceries home on the bus? My 10 year old kid plays baseball and is catcher, he can barely carry his bat bag and catcher’s gear bag. Is he supposed to haul that and his school bag on the bus? I live in a typical middle-class neighborhood and it’s a 15 minute walk to the nearest bus stop. I don’t have an extra half-hour a day to lose.


Where did anyone say that?


I have relatives in NYC who don’t drive…never got a drivers license.

You don’t carry 10 bags of groceries home…you make more frequent trips and bring home 4-5 bags. You make adjustments based on circumstances. The vast majority of people do own a car…there are a few million in this country who don’t.

If I lived in a large city like NYC…not sure I’d own a car. But then again - I don’t want to live in those conditions. I like my 5 acres of woods. I like the fact that at night it’s extremely quiet…except for maybe the Owl sometimes or a Coyote howling…and the birds this time of year waking me up at 5am. So I plan to own a car the rest of my life.


No, the purpose of mass transit is to allow people to readily get from their homes to their jobs, and then back home again. Trust me–if you took a look at the people riding NJ Transit trains and buses to NYC–for jobs that pay six figure incomes–you wouldn’t think that mass transit was for poor people.

However, whether somebody is poor or “comfortable”, society and government both benefit by making it possible for those people to get to their jobs, and in many places it just isn’t practical to do so with a car.


In Europe, people traditionally shop every day and buy–probably–only one or two sacks of food each day. Even the traditional size of refrigerators in Europe reflects this type of shopping. Yes, as folks become more affluent they tend to buy larger refrigerators, but the majority of Europeans still have refrigerators that we would consider to be appropriate for a dormitory.

When I was a kid, we lived in NYC and did not have–nor need–a car.
After moving to NJ, we became car owners even though we were still in an urban area.
At this point in my life, I prefer my rural lifestyle, where the loudest noise is a fox screaming at night, and–of course–I need and prize my car.

However, when I venture into NYC, I split the difference by driving ~7/8 of the way, and then take public transit for the final leg of the trip. That saves a lot of money, a lot of wear and tear on my car, and a lot of time.


Take a look at the top financial cities in the world…they all have good public transportation.


My cousin in NY buys his fruits and breads fresh every day. The other stuff he shops a couple times a week.


Absolutely correct.


People who live without a car don’t buy groceries 10 bags at a time. They shop more often, and sometimes cook with fresher ingredients because of it. I’ve personally made a point of trying to shop more often on my way home from somewhere so I can cook fresh food at home more often.

That sounds like a good reason your family might need one car. However, I can’t think of the last time I saw a two-parent household where everyone shares one car. If your city bus has a bicycle rack on the front, you can probably cut the time it takes to get to the bus stop in half by riding a bicycle. It might come in handy at the other end of the bus ride too.


More and more the return to grocers delivering to homes is growing. Sixty years ago there were at least 8 grocers here whose business base was delivery in a town with a population of less than 10,000 at the time.


What I’m saying is that mass transit benefits us all, for the following reasons:

  • Mass transit cuts down on pollution. Even trains that burn diesel are more efficient than having everyone drive their own car, but light rail is even cleaner, and much quieter.
  • Mass transit gives people who want to avoid traffic congestion alternatives. The more people who use mass transit, the nicer your drive will be.
  • Mass transit benefits everyone who cannot or does not want to drive, rich or poor.
  • Because driving is a privilege, not a right, public mass transit is democratic, offering increased access to government programs meant to serve the public.

I hope it makes you feel better to know mass transit doesn’t just benefit the poor. Heaven forbid we do anything just to help the poor. That would be immoral [/sarcasm].