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Car free thinking?

by Barry
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Running a car is now really expensive.  Fact.  Fuel is taxed to the hilt and more, and the other costs associated are getting out of control.  Given that we know that bigger cuts and the real impact of what has already been announced is still to be properly felt, Amanda and I had a serious (1am) discussion about becoming a Car Free family.

My gut reaction was “don’t be silly” but as we went through things and the trips we do then it is possible.  It certainly wouldn’t be convenient, we would have to become better at planning and the bikes would become better used.  The public transport system isn’t great, but lets face it, there is going to be no drive to make it better unless there is demand for it.  We would have the Number 14 bus in Kingsway, the number 10 in Tuffley.

The longer trips to think about, like to my Parents in Cumbria could be done by train, or we hire a car as and when we need it.

It would put a stop to “nipping to Tesco” or getting a quick take away, which would do wonders for my waistline and being on the bike more would do wonders for my fitness levels.

There is also the new Gloucester Car Club, which makes a car available for a per hour fee which would do for trips to Ledbury etc.  According to them we would save £5440 per year, but given their assumptions we think it would be more, something like over £6000.  Also if enough people registered in Kingsway/Quedgeley then they would have a car allocated over here too!

The main concern would be travelling to work in Bristol, as the public transport links are rubbish, but given how much I work away at the moment, then it’s not much of an issue, but it would need to be reviewed as and when my work patterns change.

So, I don;t think it would be easy, but then we never seem to make the easy choices, I think it is worth a try, even just looking at the financial aspects alone.  Therefore we have decided to sell our car, and see how it goes for say 6 months (or until we get completely fed up).   Scary stuff.


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Claire May 8, 2011 - 10:04 am

Wow – We managed for a few years and then went back to a car while I was heavily pregnant with a toddler in tow. There’s no doubt that a car is useful, but I was fitter when I was walking more. Also we spent less money, not just on the car and fuel, but also we only went out to buy exactly what we needed. We rarely bought anything on impulse as we had to carry it home!

We have registered for the car club and are just waiting for our car to give up or be needed by someone else more than us. It will not be replaced. I feel a bit of a hypocrite banging on about sustainability all of the time and then hopping in my car for a short trip that could easily be done by foot or bike. Here’s to a greener future, more money in our pockets, and a healthier lifestyle! Good luck Kirbys : )

Matt May 8, 2011 - 12:19 pm

That’s amazing guys – well done for taking some time to consider this issue. We sat down a year ago and wrote out all the figures but then decided the hassle of not having a car just tipped the balance.

Now that the car club is running, the hassle of not having a car is gone and we can book it at short notice when we want. The website estimated it would save us around £2,000 a year, and right now we can’t afford to have the car!

See the post on my blog…


Anyway, the more people sign up the better the service will be.

Joe K May 8, 2011 - 3:51 pm

There’s one in Stroud, too. This links to both of them: http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=103990

Good luck again, Barry (bearing in mind how that worked out the last time ;)). Owning a car which spends most of its time parked up is a bit like owning a takeaway in case you feel like fish and chips, and just as unhealthy.

Car-sharing is under-utilised, too.

Eddie May 10, 2011 - 9:09 am

I’m following this with great interest

James May 10, 2011 - 7:32 pm

You shouldn’t have too much difficulty car sharing between here and Filton, given the size of its working population and the increasing cost of motoring (not to mention the cost of living in Bristol).

A Gloucester city council employee living in North Bristol area used to pick me up from Slimbridge en route to Gloucester City Centre. All you need to agree is pick up points, timings and divvy up the petrol costs; everyone’s a winner. Sign up here http://www.carsharegloucestershire.com


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