Late yesterday afternoon, I received a response from the Record to our letter requesting that the Jeff Outhit Challenge be assigned.

The Record’s response


Thank you  for your idea.  I have discussed it with the city editor and have decided we are unable to do it at this time.


Melinda Marks

Managing Editor, Waterloo Region Record

My reply


Thank you very much for the response.

Forty-five people co-signed the letter to the Record. We are disappointed by this decision.

There was no expectation that the challenge to Mr. Outhit be done at this time, just that it be done. As long as the Record continues to have a dedicated transportation column, we believe the challenge is appropriate and we hope that it continue to be actively considered.


James Howe

What we achieved

While we were not successful in getting Jeff Outhit to experience living without his own car–not yet anyway, I believe our efforts have been worthwhile. We have let The Record and Mr. Outhit know about our concerns. More importantly, we have demonstrated that there is strong support for a mix of transportation choices as our region moves forward. Public transit, carsharing, cycling, walking, car pooling, etc are all viable options that many people use. I believe it is important to note that they are choosing to use them and not only being used from lack of choice.

I hope that by raising these points in a positive manner that the Record and Mr. Outhit may make different choices in the future regarding coverage of transportation issues. If so, that’s quite an achievement and I’m happy.

The Waterloo Region Transportation Challenge

The Jeff Outhit Challenge is not moving ahead so instead I will issue the challenge to others to live without their car for 30 days. We will call it the Waterloo Region Transportation Challenge. The terms would be the same and so if you are a two car family, becoming a one car family would be meeting the challenge.

One person has come forward to accept it and share their experiences. That’s enough but more would be better.

If you are interested in also accepting the challenge, please indicate so below in the comments section or send me a message. Once we know who will participate, we’ll figure out he rest of the logistics such as when and let everyone know how to follow the experience of people who have accepted the challenge.

I’d gladly take the challenge myself except I’ve already done so and have continued to live that way.

6 thoughts on “The Record’s response to the Outhit Challenge

  1. Daisy and I live the challenge as well. We have three children (10, 9 and 6) and have one vehicle. I use transit daily to commute to work and love it.
    I think The Record could have assigned someone to live the challenge – even if it wasn’t Jeff. Or, assigned someone else on the column who could better represent other modes of transportation in the Region.

    1. Thank you Andre for sharing your family’s experience and what is possible. Maybe the Record or another media outlet will take you up on your idea as part of the Waterloo Region Transportation Challenge.

  2. Well, this solidifies my decision not to become a Record subscriber for a while. I like the Waterloo Region Transportation Challenge though. My wife and I largely practice it, and once she’s got her full G license we will seriously consider selling our car and joining the carshare.

  3. As I mentioned when we ran into each other last week while walking down King St., Kitchener to the bus station, I have done the 30 day challenge a number of times, most recently in January. One daughter gave up her car for her maternity leave and the other has turned to cycling, so we have one car for two families and a single. The experience bussing to GRCA taught me a lot about Cambridge. Yes Virginia, many people take the bus in Cambridge!
    As I mentioned to you, I also think the Jeff challenge could backfire as he probably won’t like it. Along the spine is great, as fast as driving at times.In the suburbs, we still need a lot more work on bus routes. But you and your readers know that.
    How about the 30 day challenge around the Commuter Challenge in June?

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences here Jane! If Mr. Outhit did not work downtown where he has easy access to public transit, carshare and walking destinations, I probably wouldn’t have issued the challenge. I knew that he’d probably find things that he didn’t like too but that’s to be expected since there is still improvement needed to make living without your own car or one car fewer an easier choice for more people. At the same time, I expected that by broadening his experience that he’d realize that owning a car isn’t the only way to get around.
      Thanks for suggesting connecting the commuter challenge week and the Waterloo Region Transportation Challenge!

Leave a Reply