I have a challenge for Jeff Outhit.
Outhit, for those who do not regularly read the Waterloo Region Record, is its transportation reporter/columnist. Some people would suggest that the difference between a story and a column is whether the paper includes an “OPINION” subtitle. Another clue is that the columns normally appear on Saturday at the bottom of page B1.
In either case, Outhit demonstrates a bias in favour of our society’s car-centred culture. I have the perfect challenge for him.
My challenge for Jeff Outhit
I challenge Jeff Outhit to live his life for 30 days without his car.
I think he is the perfect person to demonstrate how it is possible to live without a car. I anticipate that his eyes will open to possibilities that are currently not a part of his personal paradigm. With the Record’s offices situated in downtown Kitchener, Outhit’s life without a car has several built-in advantages since it is well served by transit, is close to several Grand River Carshare locations and has many stores, services and facilities within a short walk.
I’m sure the good folks at Grand River Carshare can set him up with a temporary membership. If not, I have a gift certificate for it that I will donate for this purpose. I’ll leave it up to him whether he pays for Grand River Transit per ride, by using bus tickets or getting a monthly pass. I trust that he will select the form that best suits his expected frequency of use.
Outhit’s transportation mix
He can use a mix of transportation choices roughly modeled on my own outlined in an earlier post. Naturally, he can adapt it to his own circumstances as long as he accepts these principles:
- No use of his personal vehicle (unless in case of a life or death situation)
- Walk if possible
- Cycling is encouraged as long as it is on the road or a designated bike path though it is not a must.
- Take the bus when it is too far or takes too long to walk.
- He can use a car from Grand River Carshareor his spouse/partner (if applicable) when taking the bus is not the most efficient option such as when several connections are necessary or service is infrequent. Additional principles related to using a care are:
- Borrowing cars from co-workers, neighbours or friends would be considered cheating. Though, I’d sport him a mulligan or two.
- After arriving at work, I would expect if he needs a car before his work day ends that he uses Grand River Carshare.
- Car-pooling is acceptable if it is not his car. In the spirit of the challenge though, it should not replace the need for public transit and/or carshare.
- If his living arrangements include access to a second car, he can use that car on evenings, weekends and holidays BUT the car’s owner may NOT use Outhit’s car.
- If he attends any event at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, he must go in a vehicle with 3 or more people, use public transit or a shuttle.
Conditions of the challenge
There are a few other conditions that I think are appropriate. Outhit needs to:
- write a column to be published in the Record about the challenge before it begins and after it finishes
- write a blog post at least five times a week that is found in the Record’s blog section (at least a short post) about his experience meeting the challenge
A suggestion for The Record
On a related note, if the Record is going to have a weekly column on transportation, let’s also have weekly columns on other topics that affect Waterloo Region such as:
- health care
- addressing the root causes of crime
- development issues / intensification
Do you support the Jeff Outhit Challenge?
If you support my challenge for Jeff Outhit, please leave a comment below, send me an e-mail or a direct message on Twitter. The more support there is for the challenge, the better the chances are that it will be accepted.
If you happen to not be a fan of Jeff Outhit, please keep those thoughts to yourself. I am trying to create an opportunity that could change Outhit’s behaviour and opinions. Constructive criticism is fair game but personal slams are not and will be deleted.