I Tried Giving Up My Car For A Month & Here’s Everything I Learnt From The Experiment

Do you think you could give up your car? I mean seriously give it up, not leave it in your car spot for moss to grow over it, I mean hand the keys off to someone else for good.

Most Australians can’t. Despite Australia’s car ownership being the highest in the world, with plenty of Australians owning a second car, a study by the NRMA revealed that 95% of cars sit idle most of the time.

Knowing that, living without your car should be super easy, right? Well, that’s what Uber is trying to find out.

Uber is conducting the “One Less Car” experiment, prompting Aussies to give up their car for four weeks and to share the hardships of not being able to go on a late-night Daniels Donuts run or stress about public parking.

We spoke to Alice, an avid driver who underwent the trial of foregoing her car, to find out how it went.

PEDESTRIAN.TV: Hi Alice, what were the biggest challenges in not owning your own vehicle?

Alice: I’m usually punctual, but having to rely on transit … I would say my consistency in timeliness took a hit. Mostly due to miscalculations on my end, like thinking it would take me 14 minutes to walk to the station not 20 minutes. So, I had to adjust my expectations. I also like to keep a spare jacket and umbrella in my car, so sometimes I forgot and didn’t have access to them.

Did you find yourself missing your car throughout the trial?

As an avid driver, I absolutely found myself missing my car! I like to hype my day up by singing in the car, and that’s not something I would do on a train.

What alternative transport did you use?

Walking, trains, buses, Uber, and Uber Carshare.

How did you find using a car-sharing app?

Uber Carshare was easier than I anticipated. I thought it would be an annoying, arduous process requiring several checks, but it was quick and easy. I was also able to book cars on short notice which is a big positive on my end.

Before this experiment, how often were you using your car?

As often as I could! I’m joking, probably about four-to-five times a week. Mainly for jobs, university, social occasions, and grocery shopping.

Did you find that you were spending far less on transport during the trial?

Yes! It was really startling to see the difference. Particularly on long-duration trips, it would be about two-to-three times cheaper. The costs were significant when travelling to areas with paid parking.

Would you consider entirely giving up your car in the future?

It’s hard for me to say because of how much I adore driving, but I can definitely envision a future where I give it up. I’m super keen to see the progression of electric cars/trains/buses and how it will change the public transport system. I’m willing to use my car less, but giving up, that’s not something I can say right now.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while doing the trial?

Prior to the trial, I had so many negative opinions about public transit and rideshare services that were based on speculation. I used to think that travelling would take longer, be uncomfortable, and be more expensive and that time delays were really common. So, having to rely on the system I found that it was not as I thought it was. Trips were cheaper, the time difference was either the same or quicker and I only experienced two delays throughout the whole trial.

Would you recommend anyone else try giving up their car for a bit?

For sure, there’s no harm in suggesting it. It honestly can reframe how people view public transport and rideshare services. Additionally, it helped me be more active in a subconscious way. It’s totally hard to break a routine, but I do think it’s worth trying.  

To learn more about the environmental and economic benefits of living a car-light lifestyle, and Uber’s mission to tackle Australia’s overreliance on cars with its ‘One Less Car’ trial, click here.

Image: Seinfeld