Why I've Decided to Go Carless in LA
Going carless in Los Angeles may sound blasphemous but it's truly not. Here all the reasons why I've decided to go carless in a city where some live and die by their cars.
- •It's cheaper.Depending on what your monthly payment on your car is, it might actually cost less to take Uber pool / Lyft line everywhere. Include maintenance, gas, parking and parking tickets. It costs me less to Uber pool everywhere than it was having my car in LA.
- •It's safer.I'm not an amazing driver. I failed my driver's license test twice before succeeding on the third try. Nonetheless, the streets of LA are safer without me driving on them and I am safer being driven by people who actually know how to drive.
- •It's environmentally friendly.Every Uber has at least two people. Uber pools have at least three. Instead of three cars on the road, there's one. That's a huge reduction in pollution.
- •It reduces traffic.With fewer cars on the road, LA is less congested. If everyone carpooled, we'd have a lot fewer people scared to drive between the hours of 3 and 7pm.
- •No parking or parking tickets.Finding a parking spot in certain parts of LA is downright insane. Try Koreatown or West Hollywood or Downtown and you'll see what I mean. No driving around in circles and deciphering deliberately frustrating parking signs. No parking tickets. I am dropped off where I need to be and that's it.
- •It's more efficient.A car remains unused 90% of the time sitting in a garage or parking spot. Why spend $ on a car that you barely use (and yes, Angelenos drive everywhere but actually calculate how much time you spend using your car vs how much time it's sitting around.)
- •I can use $ toward investments that appreciate as opposed to depreciate.If you don't have a car payment and you've bought a car, that's a depreciating asset, no matter what. Unless it's a special/vintage car, regular cars never appreciate in value. I've decided to make investments in appreciating assets.
- •I get exercise.I walk places. I only buy enough groceries that I can carry in two hands. I take the subway and the bus. I'm moving and exercising instead of sitting in my car in traffic -- try it.
- •Public transportation, in some cases, is more efficient.If I take the metro train to North Hollywood, it always takes the same amount of time from Koreatown, prime time traffic hour or not. In many cases, I get to where I need to go faster because I don't have to deal with street traffic.
- •I explore LA more often.Because I'm not in a car, I walk and discover places -- I don't just set my GPS and call it a day. Sometimes I wander and find something new and unexpected.
- •I have more human interaction.A double-edged sword. I meet interesting people occasionally because I'm not in a car going from point A to point B.
- •It's the future.Don't get me wrong, driving is fun, but over 316,000 people were killed in car accidents in 2013 alone. The future is in public transportation, car pooling and possibly also self-driving cars. There is no need for every individual to have a car when there are alternatives that are better for the environment and us.