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Commuter Options Rapidly Changing: Should You Sell Your Car?

23 October 2018 Dashboard Insights

The way people get to work is rapidly changing in cities around the country. With many cities experiencing issues with lack of parking and increased parking prices, new ways to commute to work are providing a solution. Commuting used to involve a few options: drive, bike, if you own one, or maybe walk if your desired location was close enough. Now, there are scooters, bike share programs, carpooling services, streetcars, and even semi-autonomous shuttles.

Look at Detroit, Michigan for example, in the last year there have been numerous commuter options added to the city;

  • Sharing Bird Scooters
  • Semi-autonomous shuttles ferrying Quicken Loans employees to a parking garage in Greektown
  • Google’s Waze carpooling service
  • Ford Motor Co.’s Chariot Transit Inc. shuttling Quicken employees to work in 14-passenger transport vans from suburban locales
  • SMART’s FAST bus service on Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues
  • QLine streetcar on Woodward Avenue
  • Mogo Detroit bike share

These commuter options provide flexibility for those who work and live in Detroit. With a plethora of commuting options, commuters have a decision to make. Do they sell their car and opt for public transportation? Many are choosing to sell their car. Various commuting options and ride-share programs provide advantages such as:

  • Saving Money
    • Owning a car comes with monthly financing or lease payments, titling, registration, insurance, gas, maintenance. In contrast, if you live close enough to work, ride sharing may be a much cheaper option. The cost of transportation services now is usually between $1 per mile and $1.50 per mile.
  • Increased Productivity
    • The average American spends 335 hours annually behind the wheel driving over 13,000 miles, not to mention to the time maintaining and cleaning the car. Using other commuter options may allow for more time to get work done, while on your commute.
  • Risk Reduction
    • By not driving, commuters eliminate the risk of texting and driving and getting into accidents.
  • Increased Human Interaction
    • Especially in ride sharing, commuters have the opportunity for social interactions and may meet other commuters and network.

However, having your own car provides its advantages as well:

  • No Limitations
    • Uber and Lyft can only take you so far. If you would like to take a long weekend trip somewhere that is a long drive, then ride sharing is not an affordable option. Some commuters are lucky if there are train and bus options available. With a car, drivers have flexibility and freedom to go when and where they want.
  • Dependability
    • With surge pricing during peak times and limited driver availability during traffic, sometimes ride sharing and other commuter options are not dependable. Owning a car provides assurance.
  • Enjoyment of Driving
    • Some commuters cannot put a price on the pure enjoyment of owning and driving a car.

We will likely continue to see new solutions emerge to make it more convenient to commute. The ease and economic benefits of new commuter options continue to become more desirable.