With a ratio of more than 1 car to every adult in Australia, it seems that most people are set on owning a car. Driving can certainly seem like the easiest and most attractive option – you’re not beholden to a train or bus timetable and extreme weather isn’t an issue – but when you start to consider parking hassles, traffic jams and the exorbitant cost of car ownership, ditching the car starts to look better and better.
Contrary to what many people think, getting around without a car is easy, convenient and cheap, especially if you live in the inner suburbs. And like everything, there’s an app for that. Find the best routes, get real-time public transport information, and get access to a car when you need one with just a few taps. Here are our picks of the best apps for getting around when you don’t own a car.
This might seem like an obvious choice (and you probably already use it on the daily), but Google Maps is a great starting point for getting around anywhere in the world. Get directions by bike, foot or public transport and compare routes and all your transport options within the one app.
Your local public transport app
Every city’s public transport network has a free app to help you plan your journey. Get route and timetable information, as well as alerts for service disruptions or delays, and real time updates on when your next bus will arrive.
- Melbourne: Public Transport Victoria - iOS or Android
- Sydney: Opal Travel - iOS or Android
- Brisbane: MyTransLink- iOS or Android
- Adelaide: MetroMATE- iOS or Android
- Perth: Transperth- iOS or Android
- Darwin: NT Bus Tracker- iOS or Android
- Hobart: Metro Tas- iOS or Android
Moovit uses data from local public transport operators to give you real-time departure, arrival and service disruption information. It shows you walking directions to your closest stop and lets you know how many more stops before you need to get off (so you can get engrossed in your latest page-turner without worrying about missing your stop).
Whether you’re a serious lycra-wearing cyclist or a casual commuter, Strava will help you keep track of your rides and remind you of the fitness benefits of ditching the car. See your ride plotted on map and track everything from your speed to your heart rate and calories burned. You can also share your real-time location with a friend of family member so they can make sure you get home safe.
Uber, Ola, GoCatch, Taxify or Shebah
Ridesharing services are a great way to get somewhere cheaply and easily. If you don’t want to or can’t walk, ride or take public transport, you can get a lift from someone for as little as a few dollars. There are several services operating in Australia: Uber is the biggest and most established but there’s also Ola, GoCatch, Taxify or Shebah (for women only).
Car Next Door
Getting around without a car is pretty easy for most trips, but if you need to transport something heavy or you’re heading out of town, a car is often the best option. Car Next Door is a neighbour-to-neighbour car-sharing service that lets you rent cars, vans and utes from real people in your neighbourhood. It’s free to join and you can borrow cars by the hour or day.