Using a vehicle as a necessity has an affect on a person's lifestyle, for better or worse. So Zipcar, a vehicle ride share program, decided to offer "low-car diet" to those willing to give up their car keys for a month. During this month, one must rely on transportation that is not their own vehicle, including biking, walking, using public transportation and when necessary, driving a Zipcar. In this second annual event, participants from various cities including Pittsburgh tried the challenge.
Louis Fineberg, also a Program Manager for Bike Pittsburgh, wanted to try it out. He says the program was difficult to follow through at times since owning a car is "outrageously convenient".
"Nothing is going to be as convenient," he says. "But before you know it, you just get used to it. It's like jumping in a pool. At first, it's a little cold. But once you're at it for awhile... it's comfortable."
Not to mention the money he saves on gas, since with a Zipcar a driver only pays a per hour rate. Fineberg says it's definitely something he could see himself doing for the long term for his six mile commute between Bloomfield and South Side.
Ed Harkins, a Marketing Manager from Zipcar, says some participants literally lose weight from this "diet". With people from all participating cities combined from last year, they walked 4,680 miles, biked 6,068 miles and drove Zipcars 1,044 times.
Scott Gibson, of Free Ride, says although it's not for everyone, everyone should at least consider using a bike more and driving a car less.
"Free Ride is a great place to start, particularly if you're a little intimidated by bike mechanics," Gibson says. "It can really demystify things a little bit."
For more information about the low-car diet, click here.