Thanks to some idiotic behaviour by my insurance company – for the sake of my blood pressure I will not go into the details - I do not have a car at the moment. Anyway, I’ve decided to use the opportunity to see how I get on without a car for a little while. We live in a fairly rural area, and I had, until recently, never seriously considered whether we might be able to get by on one car long term.
My husband needs his car for work – he has to make visits to patients during the day – so my dropping him off and collecting him in the evening won’t work. I work from home several days’ a week. At least once a week, I get the train to London from the station about 10 minutes’ drive, and 4 miles, from where I live. On at least one other day, I need to get to a nearby town in the morning.
Until yesterday, I thought that there was perhaps one bus a day in each direction to my nearest town. However, I have discovered that there are three buses a day each way, and they go first to my nearest small town – where the station, dentist, supermarket, public library etc are – and then on to the much bigger town. The bus even stops a few minutes’ walk from where my sister lives!
So I am considering reasonably seriously whether we could sell my car, and get by pretty well on one car.
My thoughts so far are as follows:
- On days that I go to London, J. already usually drops me off at the station and collects me in the evening. (This saves us about £6 a day in parking costs, and is reasonably convenient for him.) So not much change would be needed there, except that he would always need to collect me, or I would have to take a taxi home if he were not available.
- On days that I go to other places to work, I would need to plan my journey ahead, and either a) get J. to drop me at the station or bus station b) take a taxi part or all of the way, c) get the bus into my local town and take a bus or train from there, or d) for major expeditions, maybe hire a car for a day.
- If I were working at home and either needed or wanted to make an expedition into town, I would need to time my outing to catch the bus either both ways, or bus one way and taxi back.
- We might occasionally have to make use of online supermarket shopping, something we have not really done so far.
- For holidays, evening or weekend outings, we already generally use J's car as it is more comfortable than mine anyway, so no change would be needed there.
- The main difficulty I see is in my going on a spontaneous outing during the day, or in getting to certain work locations if they are far from a station or bus, but perhaps I just need to become used to taking the bus, or using taxis.
It is very nice having my own transportation, but I am not sure whether that comfort and convenience is worth the nearly £3000 a year I estimate that my car is costing me. (I do not have a car loan, but that figure takes account of car tax, insurance, servicing costs, petrol, and an estimate for depreciation.)
I wonder if it is mad of me to think that I can manage without a vehicle, living where I do, or whether this could actually work? Further consideration is definitely needed, but advice or comments from others would be welcome....