<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Challenge review: leave the car at home

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Nomadtales

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One of the more recent challenges we did was ditching the car once a week, and switching to public transport or riding a bike instead. I've been keeping the public transport habit going, in spite of the rainy weather here, with about 5 trips a week by train.

I've also got my husband involved. I bought him a Smart Rider card so he can jump on a train or bus in the city anytime he likes, instead of worrying about finding change for fares, or a decent parking spot. He's been getting around a bit that way over the last few weeks.

Since the challenge ended, there's been some good news: the federal budget in May announced an increase in funding for urban rail projects. This means a new train line in Melbourne's west, for regional services; new rail lines for Adelaide; plus light rail construction for the Gold Coast. If you're living in those areas, you should be getting improved services soon.

As Greg Harvey, from the Rail Tram and Bus Union, points out, spending on public transport doesn't just help us tackle climate change, it also helps people in outer suburbs have better access to essential services, and is good for the economy too. It's also a politically popular choice - most Australians want more public transport, not less.

In cycling news, registrations are now open for national Ride to Work Day, which will be held on 14th October. If you're an experienced rider, you might like to help organise an event to show the bike-riding newbies how it's done. I'm thinking of signing up, but will have to get a bike first!

Are you still working on reducing your car use? If you've got any good tips on how to manage it, let us know in the comments...