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Changing the way we pay for transportation
Old 03-10-2017, 10:25 AM   #1
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Changing the way we pay for transportation

Reading the self driving car threads has me thinking about how not owning a car would change the way we pay for transportation and wondering how that might change the way we use transportation. This change could occur with a switch to using uber, taxis, and public transportation also.

I ran to the grocery store this morning. It is two miles from house. Out of curiosity I checked the uber cost to get there. $5.49, so basically $11 for the trip. Would I have been more hesitant to run this errand if I had to shell out $11? As frugal as I am the answer is probably yes.

Now I realize much of the cost of the trip currently is already prepaid in the ownership of the car and the insurance for the car. (The following example in no way is my figures...I buy my cars for cash and keep them for many, many years). Think about it...someone with a $300 per month car payment is paying $10 per day for the car, add in $100 per month for insurance and that gets another $3 or $13 per day even if the car just sits there. Factor in gas and maintenance and well you see where this is going. Still I think paying at the point of the trip would cause me to consider little errands like this more carefully.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:31 AM   #2
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From what we've seen on our couple of visits, I don't think my son and his wife hesitate at all in grabbing lyft/uber. (San Fran, no car, and they do walk and bike short trips when they aren't hauling stuff back to the apartment.)

Still, particularly when considering the cost of a parking space near them, they come out ahead.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:44 AM   #3
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My vehicles are my freedom. I would never want to rely on someone else to get me where I'm going locally. It's bad enough I have to abide by a scheduled flight to travel outside my tri-state area.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:47 AM   #4
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Add on top that you can get flat rate in SF now @ $2.99 uberPOOL !!
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:55 AM   #5
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For places like Manhattan not having a car is doable.

Not viable for central NJ.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:09 AM   #6
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I think this will be game-changing for people who have to give up their licenses due to failing eyesight and other effects of old age. Hopefully this will get a few older people to give up their cars.

I've lived mostly in suburbs where private transportation is pitiful unless you're headed into or out of the nearest big city. One town had a taxi company but you were supposed to call an hour before you needed one and they'd arrive within that hour-sometime. Uber has probably killed that business.

I haven't tried Uber yet but just set up my account- when it's a little warmer and I start going on long-distance bike rides, I won't have DH to come and get me if I have a flat. I could either learn to fix a flat on the road- or call Uber. :-)
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:25 AM   #7
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I agree that an Uber might be good for some.... but the downside is that you have to wait..

Now, once we get to the level 5 self driving cars I can see people not owning them even where I live...


But, as you say... will you make an $11 trip to go buy something at the store that might cost $3 Not likely.... but, if I have a car it is a no brainer... just do it..

Now, if they have a pass like they do for the subway and bus in NY, where you pay a flat fee and use as much as you want... then that trip is now a no brainer... but, that will not happen so.....
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:25 AM   #8
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I think that you have hit on a very logical way of viewing the cost of local driving. Most of us are willing to pay those fixed costs (insurance, licensing, depreciation, scheduled maintenance) to possess the vehicle because we have travel requirements that are not very practical to address with other types of transportation. We may somewhat frequent trips that are 40 miles away, or 100 miles away. And several long drives each year. Those are marginally possible with rented vehicles, but it is our choice to own a vehicle.

Now that we own a vehicle, the cost to drive 2 miles to the grocery store is negligible. We could take a bus, and it would cost us $1.20 per person round trip. We would have to walk 1/2 block to the bus stop, and about the same to get into a grocery store. Or we could use an Uber type taxi. We have three viable choices. If we get to the point where we don't want to / aren't capable of walking in the weather and dealing with waiting for the bus, then we either drive or use a taxi.

We have options because we considered transportation needs and access to stores when we selected the location to build/buy our house. Having options is a good thing.

Another discussion is related to "how many vehicles do you need?" I have had this discussion with some folks at church that are older than us. In many cases, they have two vehicles, but one is rarely used. I could see us dropping to one vehicle in the future, and that does represent a cost savings. For the time being, I have enough activities that require the towing and hauling capacities that my pickup has, and we travel independently enough that we will still own a passenger vehicle that my wife likes to drive. We will be trading the small car for a crossover SUV so that we have a vehicle that is easier to get in and out.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:30 AM   #9
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I think this will be game-changing for people who have to give up their licenses due to failing eyesight and other effects of old age. Hopefully this will get a few older people to give up their cars.

...
We were hopeful on this for my in-laws (DW is closest kid to them, at 7+ hours). But they are past 85 and don't have smart phones.... That'll be a big learning curve, but maybe we'll try it when we have the time to spend more than a few days with them...
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:39 AM   #10
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My stepmom lives in an assisted living community but still plays bridge with old friends - two different bridge groups. When I saw her on Tuesday she'd just returned from a bridge game she'd uber'd to and from. She gave up her license and car a few months before she moved to assisted living.

We're definitely planning on dropping to one car as soon as the kids are launched. Our kids use public transit (buses) to get to school - and we use buses to get downtown for meetings, jury duty, etc. Parking is too expensive. The kids and DH get super cheap bus passes - it's still pricey for me as a sub-62yo.

I wish our neighborhood had better bus service... we have to go over a mile to get to the closest bus stop.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:53 AM   #11
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Since semi-retiring 5 years ago we don't use our cars much. WE have a 7 yo car with 60k/miles and a 10 yo on e with 43k/miles. When one of them dies we will just use one. We use Uber and love it. Once you call them it takes about 2-3 minutes and they have arrived. I make sure I am ready when using them. I figure with 1 car we will still have freedom but we can use Uber when both of us need to be going to different places at the same time.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:42 PM   #12
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I do wish that my neighborhood was more walkable. While the distance to a store and a library that I frequent is reasonable for walking, the road that I would need to walk on is not conducive to walking. The road has too much traffic and the narrow sidewalk is practically in the road.
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:36 PM   #13
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Based on my bicycle advocacy experience, most of you will have a reason that biking can't fit into your lifestyle. I know for some it is true but not for most.

I always make my bicycle my first choice of transportation. I reject it often. But even frequently being a motorist, I still save in the thousands of car miles. Among my biggest savings is the 12 miles round trip to my gym, twice per week. Rounding, that alone is about a thousand miles.

BTW, I now live in a community in the east that people characterize as having streets too narrow and cars too fast etc. I am not Superman but simply educated urban cyclist.

Anyway if you are looking for a great way to stay fit and save money, I would give it a go. Lots of online help teaching safe on street bicycling practices.
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:59 PM   #14
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Based on my bicycle advocacy...

Anyway if you are looking for a great way to stay fit and save money, I would give it a go. Lots of online help teaching safe on street bicycling practices.
I do like riding my bike...as long as it's not near a road! The idiots out there are too busy texting and talking on their phones to see me in a 3,000 pound car. No way I trust them to not see me on a 20 pound bicycle.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:03 PM   #15
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DD and her boyfriend are carless in Chicago. They take the train to work and walk or Uber if the train isn't an option. DD had to alter her grocery buying habits since she has to carry everything home. (She has learned to order paper goods in bulk from Amazon). She averages $40/month for transit passes and $60-$75 a month for Uber. Since a parking spot for a car would be $200/month, the Uber lifestyle is the cheaper option for them. They have no qualms about paying for an Uber when needed.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:09 PM   #16
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It's convenience and great for emergency. If we get sick we can get to the hospital sooner than calling ambulance. But I think Uber is cheaper over the cost of owning a car. Maybe when we get older as in our 80s and 90s we can get rid of the car for good. Because it's not safe at that age to drive anyway. Right now my husband fixes everything, but there will be a time when he can't get under the car and that's when it will be even more expensive to own a car.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:17 PM   #17
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I do like riding my bike...as long as it's not near a road! The idiots out there are too busy texting and talking on their phones to see me in a 3,000 pound car. No way I trust them to not see me on a 20 pound bicycle.
Often cited argument. You're ready to jump in your car when the data suggests you are safer biking. And, it even gets safer when more people bike as motorists become more aware.

I expect given your feeling about heavy vehicles, you avoid expressways, roads with 18 wheelers, cement trucks. I will bet not.

I understand for those who want to make a surface analysis of biking safety, how they reach this bike/car point of view. However besides the comparison of the size of the vehicles, it is not a good analysis. With that said, I understand it is your opinion.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:24 PM   #18
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Another discussion is related to "how many vehicles do you need?" I have had this discussion with some folks at church that are older than us.
DH and I had only one car for 10 years. If he needed the car during the day he drove me to work (about 1/2 hour each way). We bought a second one when the combination of my work schedule and his increasing number of doctor appointments were making it complicated. Ironically, I retired 3 months later. We kept the second car but now that he's gone I just sold the older one. The existence of Uber was one factor. I also do well with my bike, at least in nice weather.

I'm sure we saved a bundle during the 10 years we managed with one car.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:31 PM   #19
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Based on my bicycle advocacy experience, most of you will have a reason that biking can't fit into your lifestyle. I know for some it is true but not for most.

I always make my bicycle my first choice of transportation. I reject it often. But even frequently being a motorist, I still save in the thousands of car miles. Among my biggest savings is the 12 miles round trip to my gym, twice per week. Rounding, that alone is about a thousand miles.

BTW, I now live in a community in the east that people characterize as having streets too narrow and cars too fast etc. I am not Superman but simply educated urban cyclist.

Anyway if you are looking for a great way to stay fit and save money, I would give it a go. Lots of online help teaching safe on street bicycling practices.
First off, I was thinking as I read OP's first post, that for 2 miles a bike would be great to pick up small stuff from the grocery store, or add a kiddie trailer and get 2 - 3 bags of groceries.

As I read your post I thought , for most folks the 12 mile bike ride is probably enough excercise and could skip the gym membership.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:38 PM   #20
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Since semi-retiring 5 years ago we don't use our cars much. WE have a 7 yo car with 60k/miles and a 10 yo on e with 43k/miles. When one of them dies we will just use one. We use Uber and love it. Once you call them it takes about 2-3 minutes and they have arrived. I make sure I am ready when using them. I figure with 1 car we will still have freedom but we can use Uber when both of us need to be going to different places at the same time.
+1
We do take a long trip to FL, and pack on 2,500 miles for that, but otherwise we are lucky to get the car out 2 times per week.
Sometimes I'll drive it just as an excuse to do something.
We have an almost 20 yr old car with 100K miles on it, the other one is newer.

I really think we can go to 1 vehicle.
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