Is your commute bad? Try living in a car for a month
Published Friday, July 6, 2012 12:00PM EDT
A York University film student is living in a car for an entire month to help underline how bad Toronto commute times have become.
Tanner Zurkoski was selected as part of the Evergreen Transportation Expo to spend 30 days in a mid-sized vehicle, speaking with passersby and producing small videos about his experience.
For about 23-and-a-half hours a day, Zurkoski remains in the hybrid car, travelling, doing interviews and, yes, eating. He only escapes the enclosure for “biological necessities” such as going to the bathroom and taking the occasional shower.
How the 6’3” Zurkoski manages to sleep in such an enclosed space is one of the questions most frequently posed.
“Uncomfortably,” he told CTV News Channel on Friday.
“I drop the seats down, it sort of works. I have got it down to a pretty good science at this point.
“I know the proper seat positions for all four seats in the car to just have enough room if I sleep at a diagonal.”
Zurkoski celebrated his 11th day of living in a car on Friday. He says he has shifted from dejection and lethargy to acceptance as life in a car reached a state of normalcy.
Days ago he was dying to get out of the car, which was donated to the cause by AutoShare. On Friday, he was growing accustomed to his surroundings.
“It is very strange what the human body can become accustomed to,” Zurkoski said.
“This is the norm for me. I have gotten used to living in a car.”
Zurkoski said the toughest parts of living in a car are being forced to sit all day long and remain calm while spending life stuck in traffic.
The average commute in Toronto is 82 minutes, which, when factoring out time spent asleep, is the equivalent of spending one month a year inside your car.
According to the Toronto Board of Trade, only 29 per cent of city commuters chose non-automobile options. Some $5 billion in productivity is lost due to gridlock.
Evergreen, a charity focused on making cities more livable, launched the mission to underline the personal cost of living in a car: the lost time, the discomfort and the cost.
“I wouldn’t spend a month in a car for a car company. But the fact that I can get behind Evergreen’s initiatives really helps,” Zurkoski said.
As part of the experience, Zurkoski is filming a series of webisodes documenting his adventures.
In one webisode, Zurkoski teaches several yoga poses to help those stuck on the Don Valley Parkway remain calm and relaxed.
His final day of living in the car will come on July 26, and he says he is looking forward to making some changes to his daily routine.
“I am going to buy a bike, and I am going to buy a beer. And I am never going to set foot in a car for at least half-a-year,” he said with a laugh.