"The savings are insane": Denver couple share their experience of going car-free

Kurt Woock going car free
© Kurt Woock/Streetsblog

Kurt and Kati live in Denver, and until recently they owned a car, like 88% of households in the city. What's remarkable is that last month they decided to go car-free, and so far they're loving the experience. Kurt has written a great piece about his experience, and I found it inspiring enough to want to share it with you.

Like most families that have grown dependent on a car, the challenge was figuring out how to meet all transportation needs with other things. After some planning and experimentation, they conclude: "Turned out B-cycle [bike sharing], RTD [bus and rail], Bustang, Lyft, Uber, Car2Go, and ZipCar would suffice."

Bike parts© Mission Bicycle Company

Kurt makes has a great tip for those who are thinking of going car-free too but are finding the idea too intimidating:

If you’re thinking of going carless, it’s tempting to fixate on trips that seem the most challenging without an engine — heading to the mountains, for example. Don’t do that. It’s discouraging. Instead, arrange all the trips you take in a year into a pyramid, with the most frequent trips (like your commute) at the bottom. Replace those trips first. Next, work your way up, replacing trips that repeat weekly, like the grocery store. Already you’ve replaced 75 percent of your car trips, which you’ll realize are only to a few different destinations. This discovery builds confidence. [...]

The tip of the pyramid usually consists of trips that require a major haul, like furniture, or trips that take you beyond the reaches of Denver’s transportation network. Car sharing works well for hauling. For long-distance, overnight trips where carpooling isn’t an option, renting a car makes sense. The savings of not owning a car are insane. We can rent one for a weekend every month if we want and still come out ahead. And the cost of a single month of our (former) car insurance coverage buys an entire year of the gold-plated B-cycle membership. (source)

But the biggest benefits are counted in dollars. Kurt and Kati are now happier, and that alone is a good enough reason for dumping their car.

I'm curious about you, dear reader. Have you gone car-free? Would you like to? If you won't or can't, please let us know in the comments. I understand that people in rural areas or places where there's no transit have a much bigger challenge than someone living in, say, Portland or New York City. But I'd still like to know. Please vote in this poll:

Via Streetsblog (Thanks for the tip, Mr. Money Mustache, and thanks for being a long-time bike advocate!)

Tags: Bikes | Denver


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