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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 07-16-14, 12:14 PM   #26
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Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm a little leery about Uber. It involves getting in a private car which may or may not have working brakes, driven by stranger who may or may not have a valid drivers license.

At least cabbies are licensed, tested, and insured. And the cabs are required to have regular maintenence.

The lower costs (some of the time) are attractive, of course.
That's how I feel as well. I think Uber is really a gypsy cab company; once they have to actually deal with accountability I can't see the business competing with legitimate taxi services.

Zipcar on the other hand is a god send.
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Old 07-16-14, 11:34 PM   #27
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"Average American drives" x minutes/day is not the same metric as how much time and how many trips/day are made with a car per household. The "Average American drives" stats above are reduced by including people in households who neither drive or have access to their own motor vehicle.

More relevant to the subject of "now and then" use of a motor vehicle, 7 days a week all year is found in Table 3.

It should also be noted that every car trip in the NHTS survey, may require two taxi or Uber fares unless the passenger chooses to leave the meter running while working, shopping, or spending a day in the park. Let's not forget Uber's crafty use of "surge pricing" to add cost uncertainty to every trip.

Also to be noted is that the survey was designed to collect only "daily" travel and exclude long distance travel in 2009. Therefore no data was captured for vacation use of a vehicle by anybody in the household.
So the average driver travels 28.97 miles a day, according to Table 3. That distance probably takes slightly less than an hour, in agreement with Table 30. Anyway, I was making a point about the idle time of privately owned cars, so I feel Table 30 is the right one to use for that purpose.

Also, the data in Table 3 is per trip. "Trip" refers to a one way leg of travel. If somebody drives to the bank and back home, that's two trips. If they drive to the bank, then the dry cleaner, than back home--that's three trips. So I'm not seeing how that's any different whether you use a personal car, Uber, or an autonomous google car.

Cost uncertainty? That can happen with any travel mode. You can pay $3.40 for gas and $3.80 at different gas stations, or at the same gas station at different times of the same day.

I don't care for Uber, rental cars, or google driverless cars. I'm not really trying to advocate or defend them. They're all cars and I don't like them.

My aim personally is to be less dependent on cars, not just switch from one type of car to another. But for somebody who just wants to use a car regularly--without the cosy and burden of owning one--these new schemes could be a real boon. I again predict that Uber, zipcar, and google will eventually lead to less car ownership--but maybe not less car usage.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:04 AM   #28
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Anyway, I was making a point about the idle time of privately owned cars,...
But for somebody who just wants to use a car regularly--without the cosy and burden of owning one--these new schemes could be a real boon.
You have it backward as far as Uber is concerned. They serve the same purpose as taxis and may or may not be a real boon for those people who do NOT use a car regularly, i.e. every now and then.

Your 23 hour a day idling calculations and rationale make as much sense as recommending that households eliminate ownership of all kitchen utensils and appliances, and the kitchen as well, since they are idle for most of the day, maybe in use an hour at most. Are restaurants (in essence kitchens for hire) a suitable replacement for those who use their kitchen "only now and then" like a car, maybe an hour a day on average?
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Old 07-17-14, 12:21 AM   #29
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You have it backward as far as Uber is concerned. They serve the same purpose as taxis and may or may not be a real boon for those people who do NOT use a car regularly, i.e. every now and then.

Your 23 hour a day idling calculations and rationale make as much sense as recommending that households eliminate ownership of all kitchen utensils and appliances, and the kitchen as well, since they are idle for most of the day, maybe in use an hour at most. Are restaurants (in essence kitchens for hire) a suitable replacement for those who use their kitchen "only now and then" like a car, maybe an hour a day on average?
I really don't disagree with you. This is a matter of personal values and choices. For some people, it makes perfect sense to spend 20% of their income on a car, even if it's on standby status most of the time. For some other people, it's asinine to spend so much to have a car on call at all times--especially if there's a non-ownership option available.

Personally, I'm happy to continue trying to be less dependent on cars. Obviously you have made a very different decision, which is your right. I understand that you're on this forum mainly to defend the car ownership way of life, and the "average American" is probably grateful for your tireless support.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:31 AM   #30
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I understand that you're on this forum mainly to defend the car ownership way of life, and the "average American" is probably grateful for your tireless support.
You think you "understand" a lot of things that are just that, your device to make everything fit into your own version of "understanding."
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Old 07-17-14, 12:36 AM   #31
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Your 23 hour a day idling calculations and rationale make as much sense as recommending that households eliminate ownership of all kitchen utensils and appliances, and the kitchen as well, since they are idle for most of the day, maybe in use an hour at most. Are restaurants (in essence kitchens for hire) a suitable replacement for those who use their kitchen "only now and then" like a car, maybe an hour a day on average?
You only spend an hour a day in the kitchen? I wish I could cook 3 or 4 meals a day that fast! Not to mention cleaning up afterward. But I do know several people who have pretty much replaced their own kitchens with kitchens for hire. They either eat in restaurants or buy prepared food all the time. So maybe the idea isn't all that odd.

Services like Uber and Sidecar actually are being used by a different demographic than traditional taxis, from what I've observed. So they may indeed be supplanting car ownership rather than supplanting taxi service.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:13 AM   #32
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^ Cook all the days meals in one shot?
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Old 07-17-14, 06:20 AM   #33
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Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm a little leery about Uber. It involves getting in a private car which may or may not have working brakes, driven by stranger who may or may not have a valid drivers license.

At least cabbies are licensed, tested, and insured. And the cabs are required to have regular maintenence.

The lower costs (some of the time) are attractive, of course.

In the UK there are two tiers of cabs.

In London we have the iconic black cabs (which aren't always black) that have the TAXI light on the front which is illuminated if they are available for hire. They charge based on the meter, with prescribed rates based on distance and wait time. You can hail a black cab at the roadside - simply stick your hand in the air and wave at them and they'll stop for you. Unless there's a valid reason to reject a fare they are obligated to take you, within certain parameters (reasons to reject a fare include being very drunk). To qualify to drive a black cab you have to pass "The Knowledge", which is essentially demonstrating a near-encylcopaedic knowledge of the streets of central London.

We also have minicabs which are cars just like anyone might drive. Minicabs typically offer a fixed-price ride agreed in advance, have to be booked in advance, but still have to be licensed. So presumably there's some safety check to be sure that the convicted ****** doesn't get out of jail one day and start driving a minicab the next day. I don't know whether minicabs are subjected to more extensive testing than any other cars - in the UK any car over three years old has to have an annual safety check that covers all sorts of issues relating to roadworthiness.

It makes sense for a system like Uber to work with minicab drivers - essentially what they are doing is eliminating the overheads of the minicab office. That said minicab offices aren't typically in the particularly prestigious (and therefore expensive) parts of town.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:23 AM   #34
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You have it backward as far as Uber is concerned. They serve the same purpose as taxis and may or may not be a real boon for those people who do NOT use a car regularly, i.e. every now and then.

Your 23 hour a day idling calculations and rationale make as much sense as recommending that households eliminate ownership of all kitchen utensils and appliances, and the kitchen as well, since they are idle for most of the day, maybe in use an hour at most. Are restaurants (in essence kitchens for hire) a suitable replacement for those who use their kitchen "only now and then" like a car, maybe an hour a day on average?
Not really, because once kitchen utensils are paid for they don't incur any further costs. The cost of kitchen utensils isn't sufficiently high that the opportunity cost of ownership (i.e. tying up that amount of capital) is even worth thinking about. They don't need to be tested, insured, maintained etc.

So if you use a car once a week for an hour it's a sensible proposition to look into car clubs, taxis, whatever. To own a car that you use so infrequently means getting very little value from insurance, servicing costs, testing/inspection costs etc.

If you use your kitchen utensils for an hour a week it's not a sensible proposition to try and hire them, because it's unlikely anybody will consider it worthwhile to rent something of such low value.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:38 AM   #35
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You only spend an hour a day in the kitchen? I wish I could cook 3 or 4 meals a day that fast! Not to mention cleaning up afterward.
You must love cooking and cleaning!!
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Old 07-17-14, 09:33 AM   #36
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So if you use a car once a week for an hour it's a sensible proposition to look into car clubs, taxis, whatever. To own a car that you use so infrequently means getting very little value from insurance, servicing costs, testing/inspection costs etc.
Using a car once a week would fit right in to the category of "now and then." Of course that is an atypical example of car ownership/use and such owners already were candidates for using a taxi for that once a week hourly trip. Uber hardly changes the scenario at all for such atypical owners, and not at all for typical car owners who use their car daily for multiple trips.
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Old 07-17-14, 09:52 AM   #37
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You must love cooking and cleaning!!
Implication: because if you don't love something, you wouldn't do it for any other reason; such as duty or budget management. Of course, you could probably get away with eating all your meals at home with less effort. I know I do.
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Old 07-17-14, 10:06 AM   #38
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I really don't disagree with you. This is a matter of personal values and choices. For some people, it makes perfect sense to spend 20% of their income on a car, even if it's on standby status most of the time. For some other people, it's asinine to spend so much to have a car on call at all times--especially if there's a non-ownership option available.

Personally, I'm happy to continue trying to be less dependent on cars. Obviously you have made a very different decision, which is your right. I understand that you're on this forum mainly to defend the car ownership way of life, and the "average American" is probably grateful for your tireless support.
Unfortunately, everyone who spends income on a car or anything else has to derive that income from some source of revenue. If the revenue comes from taxes, others pay for it in taxes. If the revenue comes from sales, customers pay a higher price to fund a higher income to afford more things, such as a car. There is a common distinction between income derived from taxes and income derived from private revenues with the assumption that the management and spending of private revenues shouldn't be questioned whereas tax revenue should, but what exactly is the basis for that assumption?

You could say that a private business sets its prices and customers are free to pay the price or not and thus any revenue gained by a private business is the private prerogative of the business to pay out as income, etc. That, however, assumes that public money is not being used to fiscally stimulate these businesses. Once your business success is dependent on taxation, it becomes your responsibility to reduce the burden you place on the taxpayer. I.e. it becomes everyone's responsibility to reduce their need for income to whatever extent they expect others to reduce the tax burden that they must bear.

I, personally, don't mind working and paying taxes for certain minimum economic guarantees, such as food, shelter, etc. but does this mean I should have to pay taxes for everyone who works to provide these economic guarantees to own and drive a motor-vehicle? If not, why cash4clunkers and why a minimum wage that reflects the cost of driving instead of just the cost of riding a bicycle or using transit? Why middle-class wages that include driving expenses? Why not only patronize businesses that pay people enough to ride a bicycle and take buses?
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Old 07-17-14, 10:30 AM   #39
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What I want is a "uber" that will haul my riding lawn mower a few miles across town to some property I own and then haul it back after I'm done using it. Doing that would solve the biggest problem I have being car free. I have a cargo trailer on my bicycle. That solves a lot of problems. But not this one.
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Old 07-17-14, 10:38 AM   #40
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Why not only patronize businesses that pay people enough to ride a bicycle and take buses?
Would the business owner or CEO be included in that? Or are you just saying all that to point out that you would prefer public money not, in fact, be spent to fiscally stimulate businesses?
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Old 07-17-14, 11:06 AM   #41
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Why not only patronize businesses that pay people enough to ride a bicycle and take buses?
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Would the business owner or CEO be included in that? Or are you just saying all that to point out that you would prefer public money not, in fact, be spent to fiscally stimulate businesses?
If I "understand" the poster, if that is possible, he suggests that businesses pay people only just enough to ride a bicycle and take buses.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:28 PM   #42
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Using a car once a week would fit right in to the category of "now and then." Of course that is an atypical example of car ownership/use and such owners already were candidates for using a taxi for that once a week hourly trip. Uber hardly changes the scenario at all for such atypical owners, and not at all for typical car owners who use their car daily for multiple trips.
Sure, and if an organisation like Uber can make a taxi cheaper and more efficient it means the people who are on the borderline regarding whether it's worth running their own car are more likely to decide that Uber will meet all their needs and get rid of their car.

At present I'm very car light - I keep my car running because the cost of replacing journeys with taxis would be comparable to the cost of keeping the car on the road, and whenever I use the car to go out of town it starts to pay for itself. Since it's 20 years old I don't have to worry about things like depreciation any more.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:34 PM   #43
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Well, the big story about Uber is that investors have valued it at 17 billion dollars. Evidently this is because they believe that Uber is a "disruptor" that will radically change the transportation industry all over the world. These investors have bet a lot of money on this company being able to get people to drive privately owned vehicles less.
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Old 07-17-14, 04:28 PM   #44
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Implication: because if you don't love something, you wouldn't do it for any other reason; such as duty or budget management. Of course, you could probably get away with eating all your meals at home with less effort. I know I do.
I didn't imply that at all.

Some people love cooking and cleaning ... I have a neighbour who does, my grandmother does ... I'm asking if ro-monster does too.

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Old 07-17-14, 05:02 PM   #45
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According to the NHTS, the average American drives 59.83 minutes on weekdays and 46.68 minutes on weekends. this means that their car is idle for more than 23 hours of every day. I think it's accurate to describe that as using the vehicle "only now and then."
So ... the average American is car light!

Using those numbers, the average American uses their vehicle 3.5% of the time. I'd be willing to guess they sit on their sofa watching TV more than that.
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Old 07-17-14, 05:17 PM   #46
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Well, the big story about Uber is that investors have valued it at 17 billion dollars. Evidently this is because they believe that Uber is a "disruptor" that will radically change the transportation industry all over the world. These investors have bet a lot of money on this company being able to get people to drive privately owned vehicles less.
No group of investors, has laid out 18 billion dollars for Uber, stories about "Wall Street valuation" can be a sleight of hand to attract attention, jist like National Enquirwer headlines. Time will tell the true value of Uber.

More accurately some investors and speculators are betting that Uber and its associated systems of hailing a rented ride and customer/driver payments, as well as avoidance of the numerous local regulations affecting taxi service will get people to use Uber more, and Uber's effect, if any, on privately owned vehicle ownership or usage is irrelevant.
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Old 07-17-14, 05:22 PM   #47
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Some people love cooking and cleaning ... I have a neighbour who does, my grandmother does ... I'm asking if ro-monster does too.
Well, I like cooking, though I would rather not do it quite so often. Cleaning, however, I only do because the alternative is worse! I spend so much time cooking because I'm allergic to many of the major ingredients in processed foods -- wheat, corn (most grains, in fact), soy, milk, yeast, tomato, apple, nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame, guar gum, and a few other things -- so pretty much everything I eat has to be made from scratch.

You do learn to be creative, though. I make pizza with a crust made from tapioca flour, and sauce made from red bell peppers and herbs, topped with sausage, onions, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms. It's actually really good!
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Old 07-17-14, 05:54 PM   #48
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Well, I like cooking, though I would rather not do it quite so often. Cleaning, however, I only do because the alternative is worse! I spend so much time cooking because I'm allergic to many of the major ingredients in processed foods -- wheat, corn (most grains, in fact), soy, milk, yeast, tomato, apple, nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame, guar gum, and a few other things -- so pretty much everything I eat has to be made from scratch.

You do learn to be creative, though. I make pizza with a crust made from tapioca flour, and sauce made from red bell peppers and herbs, topped with sausage, onions, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms. It's actually really good!

Regarding cleaning ... for years I thought it was silly to have a dishwasher for me, when I was single, or for the two of us. And then about 18 months ago we moved into a place with a dishwasher ... and I'm sold! We only need to use it a couple times a week, but it has made the cleaning process so much quicker and easier.

I'm discovering allergies to more things too. I've just recently added cashews to the list. In fact, I'm going for allergy testing in October.

And when I spend more than just a few minutes in the kitchen ... I'm baking. I like baking, and I'd like to bake more, but we really don't need baked goods. But I've recently purchased a book on candy making, and I've been eying a particular candy thermometer and various other candy making equipment in a local homeware shop ...
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Old 07-17-14, 06:35 PM   #49
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Would the business owner or CEO be included in that? Or are you just saying all that to point out that you would prefer public money not, in fact, be spent to fiscally stimulate businesses?
I was responding to Roody's statement about people spending 20% of their income on a car they hardly drive. My point is that when people demand higher income for needless spending, it affects others. On the one hand, I think if someone wants to spend $20K on a car by spending $20k less on a house than they would otherwise, that is their prerogative. But when you look at the overall economy and realize that everything we are spending money on, including taxes, groceries, rents, housing prices, etc etc. is all funding automobile ownership for almost everyone, it's quite significant. Then when you think of all the fiscal stimulus that goes on to stave off recession, you realize a big part of this socialism is the funding of cars for everyone.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:42 PM   #50
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If I "understand" the poster, if that is possible, he suggests that businesses pay people only just enough to ride a bicycle and take buses.
Is that worse than the current practice of paying people "only just enough" to afford a car and rent and a bit of disposable income if they work 40+ hours/week 50+ weeks/year? Why would it be shorting them to reduce the amount of hours and pay so that most can only afford to ride a bike or take transit? That way, more people would have jobs with fewer hours each and everything would cost less because of lower taxes and prices due to lower labor costs.

Why is it the job of the US government to bail out the economy if everyone makes and spends too much money but it's indecent to propose reforms that would save bailout money? The big assumption is that everyone needs a car when it is just not true. Some people need cars and most could make due without one.
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