Baltimore life without a car is great — in theory

July 29, 2011

I agree with your headline, "For some, life can be sweeter with no car." Unless, that is, one has to reach one's office or social engagement on time. I find it almost impossible to predict within an hour or so when I will reach any destination. Being too arthritic to bike and too crippled to drive, if I were still of employable age, I'd be out job hunting, fired yet again for chronic lateness.

Baltimore buses are not the proverbial German trains; we can't expect true punctuality in city traffic, but at least half the time, MTA buses are late — not by 5 or 10 minutes, which seems an allowable delay, but by 20, 30, even 60 minutes or more. A trip that requires a transfer to another bus is particularly hazardous; I have arrived to catch my connecting bus only to watch it fade in the distance and then to read on the bus stop schedule that the next will be along in 40 minutes. (One can only hope...)

The bus routes seem well-planned. I can pretty much get where I want to go within Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and I have yet to ride with a driver who is less than helpful and polite, even when confronted by verbally abusive passengers.

But as I stand waiting in the hot sun, and waiting in the hot sun and waiting, the memories of my expensive old car and the time spent listening to music or books on tape seem most happy.

Jane Harriman, Baltimore

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