Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 23, 2014
So today begins an interesting experiment for our household. We are going carless for a week. Why? Well the timing is good. Our car was involved in an accident a while back and is finally going in to be fixed. When I booked the appointment I was warned that they would need it for at least five business days or in reality a week.
Given how much we spend on our cars the reality is they are likely the second biggest driver on your retirement expenses after your house. Having and maintaining a car can easily require an extra $100,000 or more in retirement savings per vehicle. So dropping to one car is good for your retirement, better yet? Going carless.
Rather than take the easy way out and get a loaner or rent a car while ours is being fixed we have decided to try out the other side of the equation and do without the car for a week. I’m curious how this will turn out since this really isn’t a nice time of year to do this kind of experiment. In fact, it is often bitterly cold outside at times around now so this week should give me a fairly good idea of what life could mean if you don’t own a car.
So how are we getting around? Well to work and back I’m taking the bus, that used to mean losing like an extra hour of my day. Yet recently the bus routes have changed and there is now an express route downtown that actually has a travel time around the same as my usual drive home. So other than the walk to the bus stops my commute should be very similar.
For more local things we plan to just walk around. The reality is I’m perhaps a 30 minute walk at most for any appointment or errand I may need to run in the next week (except the work commute). Long, but certainty not horrible if the weather isn’t bad. If the weather is awful, I also have the option of taking a bus.
In the end I’m sort of excited to try this out, since I admire places with excellent public transit where you really don’t need a car. Yet I’ve always dismissed that as an option living here. So it should be enlightening to actually know what the issues are and exactly how bad they can be.
So if anyone has some tips on not having a car I would be glad for the help. Or if you do have a car, what could you do to use it less?