Goodbye, Vehicle Ownership

Technology, Life by Adam on 2009-05-03 10:57

I’ve owned a car my entire adult life. My parents purchased a car for me the moment I got my learner’s permit, at 15. It represented the same thing to me that it does to teenagers the world over: mobility, opportunity, a chance to pilot my own destiny. In short, freedom.

I’ve been through five cars (AMC Concord, Fiat Spyder, Mercury Mystique, Ford Mustang, Saturn VUE). Each one was one of those tools that, like my laptop or cell phone today, I reach for with such habit in my everyday life that it starts to feel like a part of me.

But this time I’ll be letting go of my vehicle, and not replacing it with another.

Part of what makes this possible (and indeed, wise) is that I now live in a dense urban area with reasonably good alternate transportation options (buses, trains, bikes, taxis) and short travel distances (making walking a viable choice in many cases).

Perhaps more significantly, recent advances in technology have made not owning a car a much more workable option. Google Maps gives bus and walking directions; nextmuni.com gives extremely accurate predications of bus arrivals; Taxi Magic makes easy to summon taxis nearly anywhere; and Zipcar and City Car Share mean that I can still get access to a vehicle when I wish to leave the city, or go buy something at Home Depot, or take a road trip. (Zipcar and City Car Share can be seen as fractional ownership of a car.)

Still, being without guaranteed, instant, 24/7 access to a familiar vehicle is a bit unnerving. We’ll see how it goes.

One comment per 'Goodbye, Vehicle Ownership'

  1. Jedi Wright says:

    Yeah it is at first, but once you’re free of that feeling it’s really invigorating! I gave my last car up at the end of summer ‘08.

    Good luck.

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