Maybe your car broke down? Maybe you are saving money? Or, maybe you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint? Whatever your reasons, not having a vehicle shouldn’t interfere with your job.
Here are four tips for getting to work on time without the luxury of your own car.
1. Walk or Bike
For this to be an option, you must live relatively close to your workplace and have access to safe biking or walking routes. (Google Maps gives information for walking and cycling as well as driving.) You will want proper shoes, seasonal outwear and, if you plan to travel in the dark, reflective clothing. If you are cycling, budget for a bike helmet and bike maintenance too. However, compared to the average annual cost of owning a car, $8,849 according to AAA, you’ll see significant savings. Plus, you’ll get exercise and fresh air on the way to and from work. The major downside is weather. Hot or cold temperatures and rainy conditions can make your commute unpleasant. Be sure you have a place to clean up (if you get sweaty) and/or store your bike once you arrive at work.
2. Take Public Transportation
Public transportation works best for people who live in or near cities. (Google Maps provides information on transit routes too.) If you decide to ride the bus, take a few practice runs. Connections can be tricky, and rush hour often causes delays. Most metro systems in the United States offer monthly passes ranging from $40 to $85, so your transportation costs should stay around or under $1,000 per year. And while you are commuting, you can relax, listen to music or podcasts, watch movies and even get work done.
3. Carpool with Co-workers
If you live near someone you work with, ask them if you can catch a ride. Of course, when they are doing all the driving, you should chip in for gas money. The 2019 standard mileage rate for gas and wear and tear is $0.58 per mile, but contribute what you feel is fair. This arrangement can help both of you save money, and you’ll have a built-in commuting buddy.
4. Mix and Match
You may find you need to combine strategies to make your car–free lifestyle successful. For example, you may to bike to the bus station or ride with your co-worker only on rainy days. Also, none of these options (including owning a car) is foolproof. Sometimes bikes get flat tires, your carpool buddy calls in sick or you find yourself walking through the middle of a torrential downpour. In any of these cases, have a backup plan. Ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, are a bit pricey for everyday transportation, but they will do the trick if you happen to be in a jam.
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