Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
What do these three things have in common? Well, of course, they’re modes of transportation, but they are also modes of transportation that are rented. Did you ever stop to think that in fact when we buy a plane ticket or a train ticket, what we’re actually doing is renting somewhere to sit during a journey from point A to point B? In the case of Calgary Transit, we’re renting somewhere to sit for a short journey from Point A to Point B within our fair city (or sometimes somewhere to stand if we’re talking rush hour – which might be a whole other blog article all on its own).
Yes, most people can’t afford to own an airplane (at least none of the men I’m meeting J). So we all, with varying degrees of complaint, line up and fork over sometimes exorbitant amounts of money for the privilege of renting a squishy seat thisclose to other seats, with the delightful gift-with-purchase of having the occupant of the seat in front of you recline his seat practically into your lap at some point in the journey. Airplane seats in the Economy Section – where most travelling schleps sit – are notoriously small, and comfortable only if you are a child or a horse jockey.
Trains used to be a decadent way to travel back in the days of the dining car and white glove service. Canadian Pacific Railway has resurrected train travel with their Rocky Mountaineer but the cost is comparable to Business Class air travel. With people in a rush to get everywhere quickly instead of embracing the journey as part of the whole experience, I’m not sure the popularity of train travel is going to skyrocket, although I definitely think the possibility is there if the cost came down, and with some well-directed marketing strategies.
… and Automobiles
Cars remain the single most common form of transportation in big cities. An October 2014 article in the Calgary Sun indicated Calgary had registered it’s one millionth vehicle. That’s a lot of cars vying for space on our roads. Enter Car2Go. This brilliant idea started in Ulm, Germany in 2008 and by 2013 had spread to almost 30 North American and European cities. The premise behind Car2Go is simple – people can register to use these small, economical vehicles to travel around within the city. Fees can be by the minute, by the hour, or by the day. Car2Go offers a perfect solution for inner-city dwellers who embrace the pedestrian lifestyle but might occasionally need a vehicle.
I ran into a neighbor recently who was just getting out of one of their blue & white Smart Cars and asked him what he thought of the service. He said he has his own vehicle but when he has meetings downtown, it’s simply more economical to rent Car2Go because of the free parking areas for them in the downtown core. Which brings us to another great rental idea in Calgary – parking stalls! Stay tuned …