alt=A hand holding a cell phone with a ride share app open on screen. Arrows flow from the phone outward.

Don't Agonize - Organize: Alternatives to Driving

"Don't agonize - organize!"

This is a great slogan, and it wasn’t invented by me, but I use it every day for my own purposes.

Don't agonize - organize!

With age-related macular degeneration, I know there are likely to be difficulties down the track. Most days, I worry about this. Worrying about things that might happen in a few years robs me of enjoying the good days I have right now. I had to find something to stop this train of thought. So now I say to myself, “Don’t agonize – organize.”

In other words, I tell myself to stop dwelling on potential problems and do something about them right now! While my mind’s making other plans, it doesn’t have time to worry.

The challenges of macular degeneration

Many aspects of life can become worrying and difficult with age-related macular degeneration. Hey, many aspects of life become more difficult just by virtue of us getting older, even with good eyesight. I saw where my parents had struggles – with their sight and just with age – and this included driving, shopping, making phone calls, reading, and watching television.

With some of these things, by the time they realized they had a real problem, it was too late for them to organize help on their own. So instead of agonizing, I’m in the process of organizing a few things, and I’m going to start with driving.

Finding alternatives to driving

Driving can become a challenge as we get older. Losing our Driver’s Licence is one of the things most people fear. In parts of Australia, the vision tests for license renewal have recently become more strict.

Public transport

It seems a Plan B for transport is in order to stop agonizing over this dilemma. In NSW, people aged over 60 can travel anywhere on public transport for $2.50 a day – trains, buses, ferries, on multiple trips. This is a great deal, but public transport isn’t door to door, and gets more difficult as we age, so another alternative will be needed one day.

Taxis and rideshares

Taxis in Sydney are expensive and don’t always turn up on time, and they don’t like short trips, so taxis are an option, but they're not the complete solution.

Then I thought of rideshare services. Uber is the name I recognize, but I know there are others. Young people use this all the time when they’re out galivanting around in the city at night (well, pre-COVID), so it’s not like it doesn’t exist in Sydney.

Perhaps it’s just that I don’t do much galivanting these days, day or night. None of my friends have ever used these services, and neither have I. Maybe we’re behind the times, but while we can still drive, we don’t see the need. But that’s the whole point of this exercise - get things organized before you need them.

Evaluating the cost

What about the cost, though, if you had to use Uber on a regular basis? Our generation in Australia was brought up not to spend money on taxis (and the like). It was considered an extravagance, and it goes against the grain.

To overcome this reluctance, I researched how much my car costs me to run per week. It is a medium-size car and is 12 years old. It’s fully owned, so I didn’t include any loan repayments, and I didn’t calculate depreciation. I did include registration, insurance, servicing, and spare parts (including tires and batteries), petrol, my driver’s license, roadside assistance, and road tolls. The amount came to at least $80 a week. This is how much I could spend per week on Uber and still come out in front. Oh, and I’d save quite a lot on parking fees which are charged almost everywhere I go. Just yesterday, I paid $20 to park at the shopping center to see a movie (the first in 12 months)!

So now I’ve justified to myself that using a rideshare won’t make me broke, at least as compared to using my own car. I’m going to download the Uber app and try it out, even though I don’t need it yet. Watching a television show recently about an Uber driver who murdered a number of people, has been a minor bump in the road to this destination. I shall not be deterred! I will stop agonizing and proceed to organize this!Share YOUR own story

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