The No Car Experiment

PublicTransport
I’ve become somewhat obsessed with the shared economy of late – it started with the introduction of Uber in Australia which I was a moderate user of – then with Uber X i found myself increasingly leaving the car at home while heading out for a few beverages.

But some may say I’ve gone a little extreme after selling my car a few weeks ago and as yet.. not replacing it.

A little background, our office is in Ultimo (for Sydney siders that’s the suburb that isn’t Darling Harbour and where you can sit in traffic on Harris St for an hour at 5pm) and for outside Sydney-siders that’s the suburb you’re unlikely to visit unless you’re going to University at UTS or coming to meet us at I Know IT (feel free!).

After the office move to Ultimo last year I decided to take the train in a couple of times and found it was taking about the same time as driving (45 minutes).  A few more weeks of public transport and I thought I’d try my hand at cycling to the office.. and again.. found that the timing (with the exception of exiting my sweaty clothes and taking a shower at the office) the commute was about the same. As a result I probably ended up only driving to work once or twice a week.

So – can you run your life purely on a shared transport system like I have tried to do?  Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1. Catching the train when I only need to go to specific destinations  i.e. the City, Parramatta, North Sydney – there’s a train station about 10 minutes walk from my home – despite all the complaints about public transport in Sydney, I have only ever had my route run late twice, on both occasions I was delayed by only 5 minutes
2. Cycling when I have no important meetings first up and when it’s not 50 degrees like it was earlier this week
3. Using Go-Get when I need a car for a few hours – for the uninitiated, Go-Get is like a short term car rental company, they have “pods” all over the place where you can tap your card on the windshield of a car, jump in, the keys are in there and away you go.  They mostly have small cars like a Yaris or larger vehicles like vans.  You drop the car back to the same area when you’re done.  The added advantage is there is free parking all over the place for Go-Get and other similar services so you save on parking as well
4. Using UberX when they’re less than 5 minutes away (great around the city, not so great out in the ‘burbs at certain times of day)
5. Using cabs when I need to just flag one down right away and don’t have time to wait for an Uber or get PT

So, will I be able to continue this hippy lifestyle indefinitely? Will i start eating raw tofu as my friends claim or will I trade in my green approach for a gas guzzler in the weeks to come?

After just a few weeks totally without a car my experiment is incomplete.  I have run in to a few problems – namely cost when I have lots of meetings in different places – jumping in a cab a few times a week is ok, doing it 4 or 5 times a day isn’t as cost effective.  There are times when I just want to walk out of the office, get in my car and drive home and I can’t so I’m either legging it for a train or pedaling it with the exhaustion of a days work behind me.  Go-Get is great but it is only one way so you need to bring the car back to where you started, also if you lose track of time and don’t get back to your space then they will ding you $25 – i keep forgetting..

Still, I’m going to keep at it for at least another month.  If nothing else I’m a fair bit fitter and all the extra time on the train or in the backseat versus driving has helped me catch up on reading or get through my email before I get to the office.

I’d love to hear of anyone other shared transport ninja’s out there – share your story in the comments below.

 

James

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