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: 61

Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 17, 2011 at 11:45am
OBTS, I forgot about the guaranteed ride home! My husband was just telling me about it yesterday. That is good info to know. As far as being carless with kids, I know people do it, I did it several times over the years when my kids were young. I wouldn't suggest it personally. My kids are now all over 18, so for us it isn't an issue. As a matter of fact, they were one of the reasons we decided to ditch the van, I got sick of being a taxi service for them everytime they NEEDED a ride somewhere! Now I can easily tell them (which I always did anyway), go hop on the bus or walk! :)
Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 17, 2011 at 11:47am
Oh and I see people with babies and strollers on the bus everyday! :)
Comment by Benny the Icepick on June 17, 2011 at 12:00pm

By the way, Hettie, if you ever want to borrow my Xtracycle for a week or two, just to try it out, I'm more than happy to loan it to you and Phil.

And if you have more bikelust to unleash, I might direct you to the blog of our very own stylist-to-the-stars, Jennifer Jane's "Morning Bike Porn" (and in case the title didn't inform you, there's a fair amount of content there that isn't safe for work)

Comment by slamwagon on June 18, 2011 at 1:17am
Paula, any chance your workplace is a member of the ABQ Ride Smart Business Partnership Program? We receive monthly bus passes for $20 with the program. Also, if you are feeling committed to the idea of car-free living, a yearly bus pass is, what, $225? Pretty good deal. Either way, good luck.
Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 18, 2011 at 4:10am

slamwagon, nope, I'm self employed, work at home as an artist. We are definitely thinking about at least a 6 month pass. I didn't know the year pass was such a great deal! Will check that out for sure!

Jeff, yeah, I don't think I would feel safe trailering kids on a bike either.

Comment by Katys on June 18, 2011 at 4:09pm

On September 4, 2010 on a trip back to Albuquerque from Atlanta where we returned our two precious grand daughters to their parents, our Subaru Forester with 248,000 miles on its odometer chugged, coughed and sputtered one last time. She had been delivering us messages earlier in the trip and we had attempted to get repair in Atlanta where it seems very few folks appreciate the special charms of Subarus. Having her repaired there and then hitting the road sounded iffy and our own mechanic suggested we try to make it back. She didn't. We donated her to Arkansas Public Radio.

When she was hauled away from the "motor court" the next day, I took pictures. She looked really good. Too good! 

So with two $500 travel vouchers for giving up our seats on the Dallas to ABQ leg of our return trip with Southwest airlines we began our month-long experiment in living without owning a car. I kept looking over car ads. I was not thrilled! Actually I was cranky! I told my husband whose "dream" I felt forced to live out that if I went anywhere on the bus he was going with me. I'm not real brave. 

Nine months and 13 days have passed and we have officially Dumped the Pump. Tho I do have a twinge of "Subaru Envy" when I see one pass by I am convinced we did the right thing for all the reasons you have listed! 

We Zipcar or rent from Enterprise when we need too.

I would love to meet others who have done the same and give a toast to the future!


Comment by hettie on June 18, 2011 at 7:23pm
katys, how has the zipcar worked out for you?
Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 19, 2011 at 10:17am
CHEERS to you Katys! That is wonderful! I have a feeling more and more people are going to "dump the pump" for good, if not completely by choice. Either way, it's good for everyone including our planet!
Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on June 19, 2011 at 10:19am
Katys, after checking out your profile, I think I have seen you on the Central bus a couple of times! Next time I will say hi! :)
Comment by Katys on June 19, 2011 at 1:41pm

Zipcar has worked very well for us when we have jaunts of a couple of hours. Any longer and I will rent an Enterprise car for the weekend from an office near where we live. We have used Zipcar on the spur of the moment but that does not always work. If we have an evening event I will not use Zipcar because I do not want to have to walk the 2 miles home late at night after the last buses. It was good to know that we could use it in Seattle when we vacationed there with our children and grand children over the winter but we found public transportation so good there that we never used it.

I have not used it in a month or so and for a while a few months back two of the cars were disabled for some reason. One was replaced and another repaired. Since there are only 3 cars on campus that can put a crimp on availability! Now I am wondering where the Toyota SUV is that they replaced! It is not parked next to Pearl Hall like it was! 

I think Zipcar would be much better off reassessing their business plan and parking their cars in places where folks with better driving records than college kids would have more access to them! 


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