I’ve been car-less for over 5 years now. Despite what many people assume, my licence was not plucked from my shaking hands after a terrible accident nor was it a product of bad financial decisions.
I got rid of my car for a much simpler reason: I wanted to.
My choice to go car-less was one of the first challenges I undertook, as I worked to better align my life with my personal values. When I moved back to Ottawa from Toronto, I made decisions that would allow me that flexibility – like locating my house close to a transit hub, and walk able to other essentials.
I transitioned into the new lifestyle with ease, and found many things I love about taking transit:
- Connecting with others – from the small talk with strangers, to playing hide and seek with a toddler hanging over their parents shoulder, taking transit allows you to build community. I have found it really powerful to be able to interact daily with people I wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise – young, old, rich, poor, healthy, sick, students, professionals.
- Pausing, Unwinding – in a society that is so switched on, there is an element of pure joy in being given the opportunity (read: forced) to pause every day. Waiting. Watching. Disconnecting. Slowing down.
- Lighter financial burden – although it wasn’t my motivation to get rid of my car, it certainly was a reason to not purchase a new one. No more maintenance fees. No more insurance. No more stress from watching gas prices.
It has only been within the past year that I have considered re-introducing the possibility of getting a car. I had noticed some areas of my life (which I really valued) had been impacted, which I wasn’t so keen on – such as less time spent with my family or fewer weekends out in nature.
I questioned if the amount of time I really needed a car, justified me purchasing one (and inheriting all of the headaches associated).
After researching, and deliberation – I decided to sign up for a Car sharing program (VRTUCar), allowing me to have access to a car for general running around. However I have found that if you are driving it more than ~3hrs or 60km a week, it is more cost effective to rent a car one day a week. Incredibly – I could rent a car 15+ days a month, before all the costs of owning a car would be more effective (insurance, maintenance, depreciation).
I’m going to give it a shot for the next couple of months (as it will help me with my STUFF Project). I’m wondering if any of you have experience with car-less households, car-sharing, renting on a casual basis, or purchasing a sustainable vehicle? I’d be thrilled to hear your ideas and experiences below!
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