Originally published on Midtown Alliance’s blog
Noel Mayeske is a Marketing Manager for Cushman & Wakefield, at the corner of 14th & Peachtree. Noel commutes daily via MARTA rail and is an avid supporter of smarter commuting.
Noel wasn’t all in at first. “Start small,” Noel recommends, “Don’t expect to give up your car, or even go 100% MARTA at first. Just set a modest goal – try MARTA every Friday. If that goes well, try two days. That’s what I did when I started riding it 18-20 years ago…never thought I’d eventually give up my car,” said Noel.
Extreme actions begets extreme results
Noel says the decision to change his commute has literally changed his life. His stress has decreased thanks to a more dependable commute and his reclaiming of lost commute time (he now spends his commute reading, journaling and texting family and friends). After spending five years embracing a car-lite lifestyle, he estimate his total financial savings at around $50,000, or $9,000-$10,000 annually.
The biggest impact? Arguably his health. In addition to reducing the amount of CO2 in the air, Noel is choosing a few extra minutes of relaxation in the afternoon versus “gritting [his] teeth for a long drive” after work. The 3-4 miles, or 6,000+ steps, he now clocks per day is just icing on the cake.
Less cars, more community
In 2013 Noel decided he wanted to further align his daily lifestyle and values.
“I went all in. No car since 2013, and I will never go back. You couldn’t give me a car now,” says Noel, “So there’s less guilt, less hypocrisy, more spiritual alignment. I’m putting my money, which is a small daily vote, into the pot I’d like it to go in – financial solvency for our transit system. And every vote counts,” says Noel.
Noel says choosing to take MARTA is “a small statement of unity – instead of the inherent divisiveness of so many of us scooting around in our gas-driven metal boxes, silo’d from the world to some extent – we are together in a common space, and it works. It’s just a small nod to my fellow Atlantans that I see MARTA as a major amenity, just like them,” said Noel.
Noel is excited to also be “training the next generation instead of just perpetuating old ways – my wife and I have been taking our two sons on MARTA since they were babies, and now my older son will be riding MARTA most days; we’re building a new mindset, one person/family at a time.”