After watching a documentary about sustainable eating, Susie and her husband were inspired to start thinking about what impactful choices they could make to help the environment. Giving up their car seemed like a natural first step.
The couple first encountered car-share whilst they were living in San Francisco. They found that they were able to travel with ease by bike, public transport or car-share, even with two young sons.
When the couple returned to Australia, they were determined to remain car-free and looked at what options were available to them in Melbourne. That’s when they discovered Car Next Door.
The ability to live car-free was one of the deciding factors when the couple were choosing where to live.
“When we moved back to Melbourne,” said Susie, “one of the factors that determined where we lived was to support our choice to live car-free. In Balaclava we are right near the tram lines, we have a lot of Car Next Door availability, and it’s easy to ride around.”
Susie and her family love that by using car-share, they feel part of a community. The family often sees the owner of the car that they borrow regularly when they are out on bike rides through the neighbourhood. They always give her a friendly wave.
The choice to live car-free has also had financial benefits for the family. “My husband is an actuary,” said Susie. “He’s crunched the numbers and has calculated that owning a car would cost us over $6,000 a year. Even on weeks when we take multiple trips, or when we borrow a car for a weekend away, we are still making considerable savings on what it would cost us to own a car,” said Susie.
|Annual costs of owning a car|
|Total Per Year||$6,300|
When people find out that Susie and her husband choose to live car-free with two young boys (4 and 6), they are often shocked. “They are incredulous,” said Susie. “They want to know - how do you manage that? We just explain that our first choice is to walk or bike ride, our second is to use public transport and our third is to use Car Next Door when we need a car.”
When chatting to friends and other parents, Susie often shares her experiences of living car-free and using Car Next Door to car-share. “I’ve talked with people who have gone from being a two-car family to having one car after hearing how it’s worked for us. They have found that even with children, it can work.”
Susie has some tips for other parents who are considering going car-free with children:
- Your kids might have questions about why your family doesn’t own a car - particularly if all of their friends’ families have one. Encourage an open dialogue with your children about why your family has made the choice not to own a car.
- Have your own car seat for your kids - one that is light and easy to install for when you need to travel by car-share.
- Treat the experience as an adventure. Enjoy the fun of borrowing your neighbour’s car and being able to ride in different cars for different trips.
- Factor the time to pick up the car into your adventure when planning.
Interested in trying car-share? Search cars near you.