Last week the three year lease on our family SUV ended. We spent a few months shopping for a replacement vehicle, but ultimately my family decided to return the SUV and replace it with nothing. There were many reasons for this decision.
First, the commute to and from Downtown Seattle has become unbearable. With all the construction, the lack of adequate roads, and the anger among drivers, which seems to be increasing daily, the daily drive is extremely unpleasant.
Second, the cost of commuting is high. Between the car payment, a downtown parking space, insurance, fuel, and incidental expenses, maintaining a car for commuting has become very expensive. If this was the only factor, I might still be driving, but it certainly was a consideration.
Third, going down to one car reduces our family’s carbon footprint. By using rideshare services I am reducing the overall emissions released into the atmosphere. Again, not the determinative factor, but definitely something I considered.
But as a litigation attorney I often need to be somewhere on a moment’s notice. How could I possibly have the flexibility and freedom of movement I need without a car? Actually, it turns out this isn’t a problem at all. Between rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, and car sharing services like Car2Go and ReachNow, I always have an efficient and affordable way to get where I need to go. For longer trips planned in advance, I could even rent a car.
Before the change I would leave work happy and get home an hour later stressed and angry from the drive. Now, having someone drive me home allows me to use the carpool lanes, and gets me home faster and less stressed. I can actually work during the ride home. Or if I prefer I can sleep, meditate or listen to one of my favorite podcasts.
For now, this is still just an experiment. I can always get another car if this lifestyle doesn’t work for me. But for now, I am finding life without a car liberating and empowering.
In my next entry I will discuss issues involving auto insurance coverage while using rideshare or car sharing services. This is an important topic, because if you get injured in an accident without adequate insurance there could be significant consequences.