November 2022


I was ahead of my time back in 1990: I didn’t get my drivers license.

Back when I was 16 I didn’t really want a driving license.

During high school, I took the bus to and from school—a four-mile trip. For a year or two I took the school bus, but because it took an extra circuitous route, that involved getting up too early, so eventually I switched to taking public transport, which required a buying a monthly bus pass that allowed me to go a lot of places, not just school. Although I eventually got a driving license, it’s not a central part of my life, and I currently do not own a car.

It turns out that Generation-Y is getting drivers licenses at a lower rate than recent generations. According to MSNBC, 82% of 20- to 24-year-olds in the US have drivers licenses, down from 87% in 1994. (Found via Streetsblog.)

What’s more important is that fewer people are actually buying cars – I, theoretically, could buy a car, but I like having the free disposable income to buy other things—or to save.

It’s strange that as younger Americans are eschewing driving more and more, the country has just elected a large slate of anti-public transit Republicans.

For every two steps forward, one step back.

6 comments to I was ahead of my time back in 1990: I didn’t get my drivers license.

  • Yup it’s strange. I believe, USA need better public transportation. I love to be in EU because they have a greate one and usualy you don’t need a car at all.

    What is about Russia, we have nice transport system, but really big cities like Moscow or St.P has abit crazy one and it’s almost impossible to drive within them (but many people do, because they just want to do so).

    SO, i’m for public transportation. Why? It’s cheaper, easier and you can do alot of stuff, beause you have no need to pay alot of attantion to the road. And you don’t pay as much as you pay for gas.

  • California is trying to build mass transit systems (IE high speed rail between The major urban centers in the north and south and connecting systems from other areas) but oddly the environmentalists are the people getting in the way. I’m rather confused about that one. It’s as if those people are saying, “We want everyone out of cars, but we don’t want you to build anything that could accomplish that due to our environmental concerns…”

    They have thus far successfully managed to keep the high speed rail line from making it to the San Francisco bay area from Sacramento, blocking every possible and logical route for the line. So now the state is starting th eproject by building the lines that go from someplace that few people live to places nobody wants to go.

    Absolute insanity!

    Sometimes the environmentalists are their own worst enemy. If they want people out of cars, they are going to have to realize that some sort of compromise needs to happen. They can’t save every blade of grass and every newt, while at the same time expecting to achieve their goal of more energy efficient transportation.

  • A lot of good-paying union jobs that young people might have landed are now gone forever, and thus for many the ability to even buy a decent car.

  • Prashanth

    fuel prices to blame?

  • mateo

    I never wanted a license when I was sixteen, but now I am glad that I have it, and a car. However, I do think it would be nice to have better choices in public transit to cut down on all the problems that come with lots of vehicles, and make the town a more pleasant place to live.

  • Pseudo Wife

    I lived the “American Dream” in high school and drove a horrendously old clunker to and from school. I did the whole Driver’s Ed courses and really should not have been driving myself or fellow 16 year olds around IN but I did. Now, older and wiser I do not have a car. Luckily I am near a semi-decent metro transit station in the US. It is nothing compared to Berlin yet it allows me to get to and from work each day and I can walk to a grocery store from my apartment. I love being without wheels but do fancy the day when I live in a city with a more intricate public transportation system!