Community//

Life Without a Car in Los Angeles.

Modern Girl Living in a Modern World Using Ride-Shares & Public Transportation.

Back in August 2016, I took a leave of absence from work for four months and traveled across Italy and Eastern Europe. Logistics was a huge challenge and we’d often missed our trains, hopped on the wrong train, or found ourselves wandering the cobblestone streets lost. My cell phone provider in the states didn’t unlock my phone in time prior to my departure and therefore I was unable to use an Italian sim chip. Going without a GPS taught me to stay present, how to be resourceful, use paper maps, research directions ahead of time, and how to be okay letting go of control especially when you are running late. Thank god for my girlfriends who I met along the way, they did all the worrying about how to get from place to place. This caused much frustration to many people around me, however I rather be lost in the streets of Italy while eating gelato than to be sitting behind the 405 highway in LA traffic.

I returned to Los Angeles December 2016 and presumed work January 2017. I was stuck in traffic one morning, got cut off several times by different drivers, arrived to work quite frazzled and on edge. It was then when I realized I needed to do something about my commute. I didn’t like sitting behind the wheel in traffic for 2.5 to 4 hours a day, I didn’t like the attitude I brought to work, and I definitely did not like the feeling of being depleted when I got home.  

In February 2017, I decided to move to Westwood, which is located close in proximity to Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Venice, Century City, West Hollywood,  and Culver City. There is a metro station nearby that takes you straight into Downtown LA and connects you to the rest of LA. 

My roommate and I share a townhouse located only 0.9 miles from my office. To justify the increase in rent, I told myself I will walk to work every day. The reality is that I only walked maybe 15 times this whole year. I sold my car shortly after and completely relied on ride-shares and public transportation. I wanted to incorporate the lifestyle and culture I learned from living in Europe into my life here in Los Angeles. 

My car was fully paid off and I was ready to buy a new car anyway. I told myself that I would try this out for a few months and If I hate it, I can always go buy a new car. 

It’s been a year since I gotten rid of my car and here is the financial breakdown:

February 25, 2017 – February 25, 2018 

  • Total Annual Transportation Cost: $5,071.30 
  • Avg. Monthly Transportation Cost: $ 422.61
  • Rail Services (Amtrak/Metro Rail): 400.25 
  • Tesloop (Los Angeles < – > San Diego to visit my family): $196.00   
  • This amount does not include the delivery fees of food, groceries, amazon prime,etc. If I were to estimate I probably spent around $300 annually.
  • I never once had to rent a car, but there are several car-share options such as Turo, Getaround, or your normal car rental companies. 

Pros:

  • Saved 2.5 to 4 hours per work day ( 260 days x 2.5 to 4 hours = 650 to 1040 hours per year / 27 to 43.3 days)
  • Stress levels remain low because I never have to worry about how to get from point A to Point B; Traffic; Getting cut off, etc. 
  • Extra time to check emails, listen to books or podcasts, & interact with more people on a day to day basis.   
  • Never having to deal with parking, paying for parking, or in my case forget where I park.
  • Enjoy happy hours without worry about how I’ll get home. 
  • Most of my rides range from 3-7 minutes. The longest I have to wait is 10-15 minutes.
  • It helps out the economy creating more jobs for people who choose to drive. 

Cons:

  • Rent Increase: $600.00/Month
  • Requires more planning for your day, you have to grab everything in the morning and carry it with you because you don’t have a car to store stuff in. 
  • Once in a blue moon, you will have a crazy driver, hygiene problems, or bad taste in music. (8 of 10 rides are usually great!)
  • If you ever forget your cell phone in a car, Uber makes it impossible for you to contact them. (ie. verify your account via text message… you lost your phone and cannot verity.. therefore you can’t get into your account. 800 numbers don’t exist.)
  • Sometimes you’ll want to be a backseat driver, but you have to remind yourself that they’re the driver and you’re the passenger. 
  • If you take advantage of Uber Pool or Lyft Line, it could add on significant time to your ride and you will be late. Book UberX or Lyft (4 Seater) if you have to get somewhere on time.  
  • UberEats or Amazon Fresh sometimes will get my order wrong.

My expenses including the rent increase comes out to be $1047.61 per month. Prior to getting rid of my car, I used to spend around $583.33 per month for transportation ( registration, gas, & car insurance). The real increase per month is $464.28. That would easily be my car payment if I purchased a new car. 

Conclusion: 

Isn’t this the beauty of modern day technology? I could never imagine 10 years ago being able to afford a personal driver or having the freedom of not owning a car. I will admit there are some days when I miss having a car, but for 90% of this year, I loved having the freedom and luxury of not having to worry about traffic, driving, and parking. Living 4 miles away from the beach allows me to catch the sunsets after work, or squeeze in a yoga class or meditation class.  The ability to attend a happy hour without an ounce of worry or thought about how I’ll get my car home. I get to sleep in more these days which increases my vitality. The amount of time I’ve saved from this lifestyle change, the impact on my day to day life is priceless, and justifies the $464.28 monthly increase in expenses. 

Going car-less is definitely not for everyone. If you’re single like me and living in the city, I encourage you to give this lifestyle change a try and see how you like it! 

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