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Life without a car

(57 Posts)
GagaJo Fri 03-Jun-22 13:19:53

My car is kaput. I never particularly like it, but although I work from home now, I enjoyed the freedom it gave me.

However. They're expensive to buy/keep/run and I'm considering doing without one.

Anyone on here made this choice, not out of necessity? How have you found a carless life?

BigBertha1 Sat 04-Jun-22 06:40:38

We decided to go down to one care when we moved 18months ago but it didn't work out. Public transport here is poor, no railway station and the town itself lacks amenities or decent shops. Added to that a slipped disc and it's aftermath given me mobility issues so I recently bought a second car just an inexpensive Fiesta and it's proved very convenient straight away and means we can both follow our activities and appointments. I would definitely say it's important to keep up your driving skills unless you live in a city with good transport links. I wouldn't own a car if I lived in London.

Grammaretto Sat 04-Jun-22 07:58:13

I still own a small car though I don't use it much. I am taxi for my DMiLfor outings and hospital appointments and when I visit DD as she is 12 miles from the nearest bus.
I am very well off for buses into Edinburgh. They even run through the night. We share lifts for U3A outings.
When DS comes from NZ this year I will lend him the car so he doesn't have to hire one.
Other DS has gone electric.
You have to plan more carefully without a car but there is much to recommend life without.
I have several friends who are deliberately carless and my only complaint is that they slam my doors and are clueless about directions so make bad passengers.grin

Riverwalk Sat 04-Jun-22 08:42:41

Your decision is made easier by the fact that your car is kaput - it's not like deciding to get rid then regret.

I haven't had a car for years but was never an enthusiastic driver - we always lived very close to a Tube station so didn't drive much anyway.

Living in London and being a keen walker a car-less life is very easy as public transport is excellent. The tube, bus and train is free with my Oyster card. As I'm saving the cost of running a car I have no hesitation in getting a taxi/Uber should the need arise.

Give it a go!

M0nica Sat 04-Jun-22 08:48:19

I think everyone needs to make the decision that is best for their life. And all of us have different life styles, live in different places and face different problems.

Those living in towns with a full range of transport services, and compact lives, can undoubtedly live without a car, but not every one is in that happy situation and I see no reason for those who are, to consider themselves superior to the rest of us.

nadateturbe Sat 04-Jun-22 08:56:33

I don't live somewhere with great public transport, also limited energy (M.E.) so I will only give up my car when forced to. I love having my car. My OH suggested getting rid of one and sharing. A firm no to that.
You have to do what suits your particular situation.

teabagwoman Sat 04-Jun-22 09:05:09

Totally agree M0nica. I had to give up my car when I lost, very quickly, most of my sight and I hate it. I use taxis and buses but everything takes so much longer and has to be planned ahead. Our bus service works on a hub principal so, to reach anywhere that isn’t in our very depleted town centre, takes two busses and a lot of waiting about.

Cabbie21 Sat 04-Jun-22 09:29:35

It all depends where you live, what public transport is available, and your lifestyle.
I live in a small town with good bus and train services, but if I want to visit my daughter who live four miles away, there are no buses. If I want to visit my son, it would take about two hours, or 20 minutes by car.
Most of all, I use my car to go to my three choirs. Yes, there are others who could give me lifts, but I would not want to scrounge.
So I keep my car. It is 11 years old, but has only 38000 on the clock.

rafichagran Sat 04-Jun-22 09:39:49

I have a car, I dont need a car, but it is convenient, I use it for work, my big weekly shop, and collecting my Grandson from School one day a week, when not working as he lives about 8 miles away.
I have bus and train links, and a free transport for London pass, but I feel sick on buses, and do not like the smell.
I also have a adult son plus Grandchildren who live hundreds of miles from me, so I drive there.
I think it is personel choice.

Galaxy Sat 04-Jun-22 09:51:15

Yes I dont think its possible to compare with regards to geography, I have just spent some time in London, the public transport there was honestly like being in a different country compared to the small NE village I live in.

Nannarose Sat 04-Jun-22 14:19:43

Yes, GagaJo hasn't told us where they live.

But my own experience is that other than in very large towns & cities, public transport can quickly become sparse - and it seems that when it does that, it also becomes less reliable.
One of my carless friends lives in a large town with 2 universities, and had never given a second thought to using public transport. But last year the specific bus service she used to visit an elderly relative was axed. She now has to take 2 buses, it takes longer, so she has a little taste of how it can be!

M0nica Sat 04-Jun-22 14:33:12

rafichagran I am anothe precluded from using buses because I suffer from travel sickness. I live in a heavily populated, just about still, rural area.

I am amazed at the casual way people talk about using taxi's. Where I live a taxi to any of the three local towns, all 3 - 4 miles away will cost £15.00 each way. That is £30 to visit a friend, or shop.

Visiting either of our children by public transport requires either 3 trains and 2 taxis, or 2 trains and 3 taxis if we do not feel up to crossing London by tube. DH has breathing problems and could not cope with walking more than a few yards, if he had to trail a suitcase as well.

As I said, some people live in towns and have compact lives, and presumably no mobility problems and can manage very easily without a car. Other people's lives are more complex and their transport needs cannot be met just by jumping on a bus, or train from a local station.

SusieB50 Sat 04-Jun-22 15:41:09

It’s one of the main reasons why I will remain in my suburb of London till I shuffle off ! I don’t drive, and my vision is really not good enough now anyway. If public transport was cheap and reliable more people would use it and I get so cross when areas are cut leaving people stranded . Most of my family have moved out to wilds of Norfolk and Suffolk . No public transport. I did try once when travelling to stay for a few days, to get the midday bus from the station to my daughter’s village and discovered that her village isn’t included on that midday bus except market day ! Only early morning and evening for the workers and some schools. I had to be rescued by them ..Taxis have to be booked days in advance .
My son and family are still local and fortunately have no intention of moving out . Difficult decision about getting rid of one’s car if there are no health problems but I think nowadays the cost will also play a large part on decisions if on a limited budget . I don’t ask for lifts although following my hip replacement, my Sis- IL has been amazing taking me to and from appointments. I’m now able to use the tubes and buses and have put money into her account for the astronomical cost of petrol .

Ailidh Sat 04-Jun-22 18:11:39

I might ved here to the Fylde coast from Yorkshire in January. I've still not had to fill the tank up yet, in fact, not sure where the nearest/best petrol station is.

I enjoy walking, and public transport here is good - but I can't take the dogs with me: one throws up in my car after 100 yds, I've never dared see if he's the same on a bus; and the other is big and old and three-legged, I don't think he could keep his balance.
When they cross the Bridge, I'll re-evaluate.

Billybob4491 Sat 04-Jun-22 18:24:29

I hung up my car keys two years ago when I moved house. The public transport where I live now is not great, but I have worked out the bus timetables and only live about 5 minutes from the town centre. I do not miss driving at all despite holding a driving licence for 58 years.

M0nica Sat 04-Jun-22 20:23:42

I have no desire to stop driving I enjoy it and it enables me to live the life I have always lived. I can see no reason to change it.

If I do have to stop then I will simply adapt to the new circumstances. In the mean time, it is drive on as normal.

Grantanow Sat 13-Aug-22 15:17:38

Public transport is pretty poor in rural places like where I live in Somerset. Giving up my car is a no-no.

Mapleleaf Sat 13-Aug-22 15:29:19

I suppose it depends upon how useful you find having a car.
Yes, they are expensive to keep, but I personally like the idea of it being there when I need it, without having to wait for buses, trains or taxis. We are all different, though, and only you know how much you’d miss or not miss having one.

Casdon Sat 13-Aug-22 15:34:07

I love driving, and wouldn’t give up my car for anything, it would be the last thing to go unless I was physically or mentally unable to drive. I want to choose when, where, and how I live, not be beholden to unreliable public transport systems. I’ve got a dog, and a son who needs lifts, family and friends to visit, stuff to buy, take to the tip and the charity shop, I want to shop in person not online, go to places that aren’t on bus routes, and out to Sunday and evening activities, etc. etc. Living in London and being forced to use the tube and buses crammed with people every day would be my worst nightmare. I’d think really hard before giving up all the benefits of having your own car GagaJo.

GrannySomerset Sat 13-Aug-22 15:44:37

I will drive as long as I safely can - very few buses, 7 miles to a mainline station and a social life in various local villages unlinked by anything but narrow country lanes. If we didn’t have a local habit of offering lifts a lot of people wouldn’t be able to be part of churches, WI, U3A, sports clubs etc. I hope this still operates when I can no longer drive.

M0nica Sun 14-Aug-22 14:01:47

It rather depends where you live. In a town or city with facilities to hand and good public transport, it is probably not a problem, but if you live in a small town or large village or in a rural area and if there are some kinds of transport you cannot use then it is a problem.

I suffer from travel sickness on buses and cannot cycle because I have (and have always had) a poor sense of balance, which restricts my choices

Granny70 referred to taxis being cheap. Well, not in our neck of the woods. A taxi to the local station, 4 miles away costs between £15 and £20, one way, as does a trip to the GP surgery and the local supermarket. £30 - £40 for a round trip. It makes continuing to run a car worthwhile.

I think the decision to run car is going to be personal to every person. where they live, where they need to travel to, the availability and accessibility of local transport - and checkout local taxi prices!

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 14:05:47

I don't have my own car anymore, I can walk to work and I didn't use it enough to justify the expense.

I do have access to the family car though and plan things around my husbands working hours

Fleurpepper Sun 14-Aug-22 14:16:09

Depends very much where you live and how good public transport is.

Fleurpepper Sun 14-Aug-22 14:19:34


I have 2 friends who manage very well without a car. They both live in areas with good public transport and plentiful taxis.
I have neither!
I have 2 pieces of advice:
1. If you are still OK to drive, then do so occasionally. Hire a car, or have yourself put on one of the family's car insurance and take it out for a spin. If you find yourself in need of a car, you've kept up your skills.
2. Get to know a local taxi firm and use them regularly. In many areas taxis get used for school escort work and are difficult to book at certain times. If they know you, they are more likely to be sympathetic.

Where I live it is almost impossible to get to a hospital appointment before about 10am because the buses have been cut (and the connections don't work) and the taxis aren't available. Thank goodness for the kind volunteer drivers.

Great advice re keeping up driving skills. I have many friends who hardly ever drive since their husband retired. And then they say 'oh in an emergency I could still drive if I had to' - which makes me shudder. The last thing you want to do in an emergency, is to have to drive, possibly at night, when you haven't done so for months and years.

Witzend Sun 14-Aug-22 14:26:28

I could easily do without a car most of the time, and I do - we have brilliant public transport here - but frequently going back and forth to dd’s 60 miles away, to help with childcare, would def. be an issue.

At the moment it takes me between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 hours each way in the car - as long as it’s not in the rush hour.
Public transport would take a good 3 hours each way, even though there’s a relatively convenient way to get there.

It would have been even more of an issue when I used to visit my elderly mother 60 miles away in a different direction - a lot less easy by PT in that case.

biglouis Sun 14-Aug-22 14:32:20

I never learned to drive or owned a car. Always lived in big cities with good transport links and relied on taxis for necessary quick journeys. I rarely go out now except by taxi and have never had difficulty getting one.