While owning a car may seem like a pretty big necessity in a city as big Austin, TX, it doesn’t need to be. Aside from purchasing the car, the annual operating costs like maintenance, gas, parking, cleaning, insurance, tires, and so on, add up to about $6, 967. These numbers are based on a report by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 2015 and assume the vehicle was driven 15,000 miles. That could be another six-thousand dollars in your pocket for mortgage payments, vacations, tuition, you name it.
Going car-free can be a lifestyle change at first, but it’s completely within reach. Here are just a few examples of alternative transportation opportunities in Austin to be aware of.
Car sharing is an ideal solution for having access to a car without owning a car. The vehicles are available for rent on-demand, which enables the user to book a car, use it, and pay for the time and/or distance of their trip. Everything is included in the bill when you’re done—including the gas. Car2Go and ZipCar are the primary car sharing networks serving Austin and much of North America.
According to the Alliance For Biking & Walking, Austin is the second best city in America for bicyclists. If you own your own bike, there are tons of secure locking locations all over Austin. If you don’t own a bike or would rather leave it at home, B—cycle is Bike shares work similar to a car share; you rent it, use it, and return it when you’re done. Austin B-cycle has over 40 rental stations in central Austin, so all you have to do is rent a bike, ride somewhere near another station, and return the bike to the nearest station. Each bike comes equipped with a super-flashy basket that can carry up to 20 lbs, lots of gears, and a splash guard.
Uber and Taxis
Uber is much like a taxi service in that it connects passengers with a car and driver to get them where they need to go. With Uber, you’re still a passenger, but the driver could be nearly anyone—they don’t need to be employed by a cab company. Drivers must pass a DMV and background check, but they’re able to drive their own car and set their own hours. The Uber app connects passengers with cars nearby so you always know when a car is going to arrive. While these might not be a viable option for the daily commute, they’re a great way to meet new people and get from A to B.
This group is a non-profit organization working to help you ditch the daily drive and embrace alternative transportation. They can set you up with a Movability Advisor to chat about your commute, workplace, and hobbies. They will help figure out where you need to be and help you plan on how to get there.
Going car-free can be better for your wallet, the environment, and you! By using any of these alternative transportation methods in combination with Austin’s awesome public transit, you can get pretty much anywhere in Austin nearly as easily if you had your own wheels. As always, if you find yourself needing to relocate to be closer to work, feel free to contact us to see available opportunities.