Dumping the Pump, FOR GOOD! Easily possible in Albuquerque!

photo taken from Transit website


We have been discussing getting rid of our van for several weeks now. What better day than "Dump the Pump" day?! When I say getting rid of our van, I mean getting rid of having a vehicle, period. We have spent the past few months riding the bus and walking as much as possible.

We have been measuring out the pros and cons and we have found there are more reasons against car ownership than for it. Gas prices, insurance, car payments, maintenance and repairs, pollution, parking, the list goes on. When you compare that to the benefits of NOT owning a vehicle, it is really hard for me to see why we wouldn't get rid of the van!

Riding the bus, walking and riding our bikes benefits us in so many ways; more exercise (I have lost 15 pounds since we started riding the bus!), less carbon footprint, less stress in traffic, and the BIG one, less cost per month (we figured out we will save at least $600 per month and that's NOT counting repairs and maintenance!). Not to mention, slowing down the pace of life and stopping to smell the roses (or whatever other flowers and plants and sights you may see along the way). When you aren't driving you just see so much more of the world around you.

Another couple inspired us during this decision making process, they too have dumped their vehicles and Don McIver even has a blog dedicated to it! One of my hopes is that we can inspire others to do the same!

Granted, we will lose the convenience of a vehicle, we have to plan our trips and times we can go somewhere. Of course, weather can also play a factor at times, but luckily we live in one of the 8 sunniest cities in the country(#4!)! One of the things we have discovered in paying attention to the use of our van is that we usually stay within a 5 mile radius of our home. Most of the places we go on a daily basis are within walking distance. We also live in a city with an excellent public transit system. We pay $60 for two 30 day bus passes and we can go anywhere we need to go.

So, what about longer trips out of town? For our trip to California we rented a car. The gas mileage alone made it worthwhile! Our van gets 19 mpg and the rental car got 35 mpg. We go on trips about once every two to three months. The amount it cost to rent the car for our trip was less than one van payment. Getting rid of the $600 monthly expense of having a vehicle is going to allow us to travel MORE! We are willing to give up convenience in order to travel more outside our city and eventually, outside the country. Seems like a pretty good trade off to me!

UPDATE: Just found this article about ABQ being the 7th best city in the USA for public transportation!

Views: 59

Comment by Don McIver on June 16, 2011 at 5:21pm
Comment by Johnny_Mango on June 17, 2011 at 6:28am

Good for you guys!  Of course it makes total economic sense for people with access to public transportation.  If you don't, consider moving before the rest of the city recognizes that good public transportation makes property values go up.

As for me and my 4Runner, I seem to be using it only for long trips.  The rest of the time I try to walk. In fact, we changed out the lockset to our house to a digital one because I don't carry a pocketful of keys anymore.  Yea...freedom.

Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 17, 2011 at 8:00am
Thanks Johnny! Ah yes, it certainly is freeing! :)
Comment by SweetCaroline on June 17, 2011 at 8:57am

I moved here from San Francisco in 1993.  While living in The City, I sold my car.  Didn't need one because PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION was available everywhere and cheap to use.  There was BART, street cars, cable cars, electric buses, and underground trains.  It cost me $30 a month for a Fast Pass at that time.  I sold the car and rented my garage space for $40 a month.


Major bus lines ran 24/7.  Commuter times you could catch one every 10 minutes.  No lines were more than 20 minutes apart. No one lived more than 2 blocks from a bus route. 


 You can't do that here in ABQ.  I rode the bus from La Luz on the West Side to my job in District Court when I first moved here.  I was an 'amazement' to my co-worker! One night I was left stranded DT because I was told later 'that noone catches that last 6 PM bus' so we just didn't do that route!  Seriously.


BTW - Back in SF, when I needed to leave The City, I rented a car at a 'local resident price' - yes, tourists pay more. 



Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 17, 2011 at 9:57am

SweetCaroline, I agree, it isn't an option for everyone here in ABQ, not sure how long ago you were stranded DT, but I do know that they have recently added more commuter routes and extended the hours certain routes run.


Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 17, 2011 at 10:19am
Just got the call from my husband, we are now officially carless! :) Or vanless to be exact! Sold the van back to the Credit Union today! :)
Comment by once banned twice shy on June 17, 2011 at 10:50am

Congratulations, Paula.  


SweetCaroline:  you don't mention how long ago you were stranded downtown, but ABQRide now has a "Guaranteed Ride Home" program for people who take the bus, ride the bike or walk to work.  You sign up with them and if, as in your case, the bus isn't running when you need to take it home, they will give you a ride home.  

Comment by hettie on June 17, 2011 at 10:50am

good for you guys (hi aaron!)--that's awesome!  hopefully, the more of us who take the later busses, the more late night bus routes will become available.


we've been a one car household for about a year now but our family will be bigger in the very near future and I'm curious about folks who have young kids and have made the switch to a no car household. I guess I'm mostly worried about stuff like emergencies, getting to dr.'s appts. with an infant (our insurance means we go to abq health partners near journal center, none of their clinics are near our house), dealing with a baby and groceries on a bike or bus, etc.


I'm sure it can be done but I'm intimidated enough about becoming a parent that it seems a little overwhelming to contemplate. does anyone know any families who are carfree in abq? how do they deal with some of that stuff? (these are just general questions for everyone, btw!)

Comment by Benny the Icepick on June 17, 2011 at 11:25am


Having no experience with an infant, I DO know of one couple in Nob Hill who has a family of car-free bike fanatics.  They have his-and-hers Xtracycles (with PeaPods), and the mom recently purchased a Madsen "bucket bike."  Of course, there are also kid trailers for even younger riders.


Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure all those options require the child to be at least three months old.  And they're not especially conducive to rushing an infant to Journal Center from the UNM area in the middle of the winter when they're already under the weather.

We're getting ready to go "car-light" as well - now that we live within walking/busing/biking distance of nearly everything we need, there's no reason for us to have two cars (coincidentally, if you know of anyone looking to BUY a car...)

This is probably the ONLY time you'll hear ME say this, but it might be a good idea to hang onto the car for another year or two for those just-in-case moments.  My insurance agent got me a great deal on my car because it's only a "pleasure vehicle."  As long as I drive less than 30 miles a week (which is pretty easy to achieve these days) I have a very low monthly rate.

Comment by hettie on June 17, 2011 at 11:42am

those peapods are great! I like the idea of kid seating that's actually a part of the bike; the bike trailers, even with flags, etc. just make me a little nervous. I have nightmarish images of a car clipping the trailer with a baby in it, while leaving a horrified parent unscathed and in a position to commit homicide. 


the madsen looks pretty dreamy (optional cupholder!) and it says the bike bucket comes with removable seats and belts. thanks benny, that was sort of like bike porn.


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