Monday, July 7, 2008

Our First Car-less Adventure

On July 4, we went on our first “car-less adventure” as we're referring to activities beyond our regular errands around town. The Tall Ships were in Tacoma for the 4th of July weekend, so we decided to visit them to enjoy the day getting a little piece of history touring the ships.

We made the trip entirely by public transit, leaving the Olympia Transit Center and arriving at Tacoma Dome station, where we transferred to the new Tacoma Link light-rail train to get us closer to the entrance gate for the event.

Traveling by bus definitely takes longer than driving a private car does. However, I think that the quality of the trip is more than a fair trade for the extra time en route. There was much less stress than we would have experienced by driving.

There was one potential source of commute stress. The last bus from the 512 Park & Ride to Olympia left around 8:15 PM, arriving in Olympia at 9:00 PM ( Intercity Transit was operating on Sunday schedule for the holiday). In order to make the bus, we had to leave the festival a little earlier than we would have if we'd driven. Without the need to be back to the 512 Park & Ride as early as we did, we might have taken more time to enjoy the activities along dock street. In hindsight, leaving when we did was better for us. We did not stay too long, trying to do too much that evening.

The trip up and back was definitely more enjoyable than it would have been if we'd used our car. We were able to take some time to read our books on the way up. On the way down, we were able to carry on a really good conversation about the day and our experience with this experiment so far.

All in all, I think that this was a great first car-less adventure for us.

Trip information and statistics for the day:

Transit Routes taken:


  • Maurie: $2.00 each way (included transfer)

  • Me: No charge to Tacoma (my employer provides a STAR pass which gives me a free ride on any Intercity Transit route); $1.50 each ride between 512 Park & Ride and the Tacoma Dome Station

  • No charge for the Tacoma Link

  • Total of all fares: $7.00

Cost if we'd driven: $9.02, determined from the following factors:

  • 60 miles round trip from our home to the Tacoma Dome parking lot

  • $4.42 per gallon for regular unleaded in Olympia on that day

  • 25 mpg average mileage for our car

Overall transportation savings: $2.02


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