A few weeks after moving to Baltimore from the countryside of Western Maryland, I totaled my car. I thought my life, as I knew it, was over.
Learning the public transit system in Baltimore wasn’t easy for a country girl from a small town that had three stoplights. We don’t have reliable transit where I come from, which makes it nearly impossible to get anywhere without an automobile. I was overwhelmed and fearful of exploring a new city and utilizing public transit.
I learned that Routes 11 and 21 would easily take me to my job in Fell’s Point, and both stops were right down the street from my apartment! At first I was unsure about my safety, but now I feel safe riding transit because every bus, light rail and metro car is equipped with surveillance cameras. I began to realize that this big city wasn't as scary as I thought it was. I didn’t have a smart phone at the time, so I would call the MTA’s toll free number to look up bus schedules. Google’s trip planner now helps me go anywhere via public transportation.
Soon all my fears diminished and I was relieved I could make my way around Baltimore on my own. Had I not totaled that beat up piece of metal, I would still be caught in the rush; it seems as though everyone is always in a hurry to be somewhere. As if city driving isn’t stressful enough, parking, gas prices, insurance and car payments can exasperate your nerves to a boiling point while draining your wallet.
What seemed like a horrible accident three years ago was actually a blessing in disguise. Public transportation has changed my life for the better. Now I have more fun money, I’m doing my part to help the environment, and I’m free of the hassles that go along with owning a car! I am an intern here at the Maryland Transit Administration because I want to help spread the word about a cleaner, greener lifestyle.
I may own a vehicle again at some point but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop using transit; I will keep my car parked unless I really need to use it. After all, I’m living a transit lifestyle and wouldn’t have it any other way.
My challenge for you is to keep your car parked for a week and ride public transit. You will thank me once you realize your stress levels diminish, your wallet is substantially fatter and you’re making a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint.