For the past 6 years, we have been a one car family. We are fortunate enough to live in an area where it is relatively easy to walk to the train station and to work. It takes me 40 minutes to walk to work and it takes 30 minutes for my husband to walk to the train station.
Most of the time we are carpooling and I’ll admit that it requires planning, maintaining a calendar and consulting with each other when we make appointments that require a car trip. Life and work is not always that predictable and sometimes we do need to stray from the schedule.
What if you both need the one car at the same time? Then there is the carshare option. In West Windsor there is Zipcar at the train station. Once you sign up for membership, download their app, and you can reserve a car for $8.50/ hour or $69 for the day.
Zipcar twice a month – $1,656/year, plus the membership fee $50/year, total = $1,706
Where to get Zipcars and how much it costs? Click here
Where to download app? Click here
If Zipcars or another carshare option are not available, there is also the car rental option. Depending on what rental you use it can cost between $30/day and more than $100/day. Renting a car twice a month could cost up to $200.
If you want to compare that to the cost of owning a car you can check this 2014 AAA study. The answer is somewhere between $8,000 and $9,000.
And there is always the option of biking!
What happens when your car breaks down, you are stranded and your significant other does not have a car to come pick you up? You will have to plan ahead for this eventuality. Either get a AAA membership or make sure your car insurance emergency road side assistance includes rentals reimbursement, towing and pick up. You will have to check with your insurance for the procedure and phone numbers you have to call. Make sure you have those phone numbers handy.
Since the grocery stores are not as accessible for us, the shopping trips are reserved for the weekends. We are also planning for this by maintaining a shared grocery list and updating throughout the week, this way limiting the shopping trips. You can download an app for that, we use Out of Milk. Another option could be a cargo bike. One of my co-workers recently began using one and had been known to carry a pretty significant amount of shopping in the bike’s baskets!
Along the way we encountered a few people trying to sell us their used cars because they felt bad for us. We did not make this choice out of necessity and I am aware this may not work for everyone, especially if you have children. However, if you would like to try this for yourself, you can always ask GMTMA for help.
We can see what options you have available in your area and work out a plan, a car-less plan that is, at no cost to you. GMTMA is also the coordinator for Safe Routes to School in the Mercer in Ocean counties and can help organize walking and biking events for children, making them less dependent on that car ride and giving them the chance to be more active.
GMTMA is a non-profit, a free resource for commuters in Mercer County and Ocean County, why not take advantage of our services…