Are we willing to do without our car for a day-the World Car-Free Day on 22nd September 2011? So far Malaysia has never organize her own car free day and maybe the government should put in effort towards promoting it. It is a day whereby we find other means of commuting, be it by the public transport, bicycles or a combination of both.
Photo from NST
Even though the event or campaign is focus more on congested areas, I would prefer to look at it more as a way of we moving around no matter where we are in Malaysia. Can we live car free? How actually we could get to where we need to go and ways to that without getting in a car and driving. To be totally car-free would seem to be quite impossible for most of us due to the inefficiency of the public transport system in Malaysia. Besides, taking public transport is somehow expensive and inconvenient when compared to riding a bike or maybe driving. For instance, if I were to take the bus from my hometown in Batu Pahat, Johor to Subang Jaya, the total cost would be around RM60 to and fro for a single person. Driving my car, it will cost around RM90-RM100 to and fro (excluding the car maintenance cost). So in this case, if travel more than 2 person, definitely it's better to drive than taking the public transport. Long distance travel, would actually require you to evaluate whether it's more convenient and how much does it cost between driving and taking public transport.
However, what we really need to look at and evaluate is our short distance commuting. Based on personal experience, anything below 25km (single trip), it is much more better to ride a bike than driving or taking the public transport. I have experimented it myself between driving and bicycling for all those short trips and found that bicycling is quicker and less stressful. Why don't you do you own experiment and see what is it like for you. A simple approach that I would suggest that could improve your life and your financial is to Drive Less. Start replacing all those short trips by car to riding a bike. For instance, to the grocery store, to meet a friend for a coffee, to the bank or to pay your utilities, etc. Sure, you can't replace all of those trips due to certain valid reasons, but most of it you would be able to. I can assure that you'll find it fun and freedom riding around.
You don't have to make a big change in your life to make a difference in the world. While living car-free is probably not possible for you, a Drive Less commitment is doable. Sooner you will reap the benefits for all those short trips. Even though I do support The World Car-Free Day campaign in Malaysia, I just feel that most of the campaign sometimes just for the sake of a campaign. I would prefer a program or event that would change the mindset and systems that will encourage Malaysians to cycle on a daily basis a transport.