One car, two full-time jobs

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Becoming a one-car family may not seem like much to write about.  But it represents an intentional transition to a life style that is relatively rare for a two-income family. When our very-used 1987 Volvo died in the spring of 2007, we decided not to replace it but stay with Paul’s 2002 Ford Focus as the sole family car. There have been work-related changes for us beginning in 2009, but here is how things were at that time. We live in the Philadelphia suburbs. Fran worked in Center City, and public transportation was a preferred option.  Paul worked at Villanova, and driving was a better option, although public was possible but much less convenient.  Paul would soon be turning 65, which would entitle him to ride local public transportation for free.

It worked! Our Ford Focus is a small station wagon, but proved sufficient for moving furniture, carrying camping equipment, going on family vacations, and sometimes transporting the Burmese refugees that Fran works with. We experienced no undue hardship accommodating one another’s needs.  Fran often went into Philadelphia in the evenings on volunteer work.  Paul followed his regular schedule of Quaker activities.  We did camping and vacations as normal, and during two Villanova vacations Paul took the family car for solo backpacking trips while Fran survived with no car.  On another occasion, when transporting members of the Burmese refugee community, the Focus carried fourteen of us at one time.

The one-car suburban family is a simple energy-saving and environment-saving opportunity.  We hope it will catch on with colleagues in comparable situations.