For the majority of my 5 years at university I had my own car, handed down to me from my sister, who got it handed down to her from our dad. It was a red Toyota Tercel (remember those?) and I loved it. Besides a few dents and scratches, it looked pretty good for a car from the early 90s and it ran just fine. Well, that is until it finally died in my parents driveway during my last school year.
I had gotten so used to always having access to a vehicle that when it died I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I didn’t have enough money to buy a new car, nor did I want to buy a cheap used car that would either cost me more money in inevitable repairs or would die in a year’s time. So, I finally made the difficult decision of going without a car and sticking to public transportation, and I haven’t looked back since.
Sure, on the odd occassion I would kill to have my own car again, especially when it comes to stocking up on toilet paper at Costco. But honestly, I’ve never really enjoyed driving in the first place. Being on the road kind of makes me nervous, especially when you hear how many car accidents happen per day. Plus, when I’m on the train or bus, I love being able to zone out or read a book until I reach my destination.
As part of my tuition, a bus pass was included, so even though I didn’t have a car to get around in, using transit was practically free for me. Things changed when I finished school, finally moved out and had to cough up $81 every month to get around the city. That may not seem like a heck of a lot of money for transportation, but multiply that by 12 months and that’s $972 per year just to use the bus! On the upside, bus passes are tax deductible, but when my BF and I moved closer to downtown, I wanted to see if I could lower my transportation costs even more.
That’s where the seemingly ridiculous figure of $21/month comes in. Because we moved closer to the downtown core, everything including my work became walking distance. Even though it sucks to walk in the rain and snow, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to pay almost nothing for transportation. In case I do need to take a bus or skytrain somewhere, I buy a 10-pack of bus tickets every month which seems to be just enough tickets to get me to the next month. I have a friend who has a similar method of getting around for just dollars a month, and that’s by biking everywhere. I may pay more in rent to live in the city, but I’m thinking it might balance itself out from all the money I’m saving on transportation. I know I won’t be able to keep this up for that long, especially if we move again or I get a different job down the road, but for the time being, I’m quite liking being a pedestrian.
How much do you pay for transportation? Would you be willing to ditch your car to save money?