Monday, May 09, 2005

City CarShare

I used the City CarShare program for the first time today. As the name suggests, this is a program for sharing cars, a sort of non-profit micro-rental program. There are pods of cars scattered across the East Bay and the South Bay, usually close to public transportation so it's possible to just take the car for a final leg of a trip after taking public transit.

I don't like driving. I never have. Nonetheless, I do have enough innate appreciation for clever mechanical devices that I appreciate some car designs. The car I drove today was a hybrid Prius, and it was sort of interesting. When I rode to school every day, I remember that I would sometimes be spooked when a hybrid whizzed past me without my hearing it coming. Unsurprisingly, they're also quiet from the inside. The car controls were more computerized than anything else I've driven, which gave me mixed feelings: turning on the car with a power button rather than with a turn of a key was a little odd, but eventually intuitive enough, but the heating and cooling system was a complete mystery. It also took me some time to figure out how to turn on the windshield wipers, so it isn't just the button-controlled things that I found counter-intuitive. On the other hand, I'm not sure I've ever driven anything made after 1990, so perhaps it isn't too surprising that such a recent model is a little unfamiliar.

I'm thankful that I'm able to satisfy most of my transportation needs with a combination of BART, bike, and the Mark I foot. But it's good to know that this alternative is available if I need it.