(Business Insider, by Katherine Krug) In 2010 I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco and thought I had to bring my car with me. LA, as anyone who’s ever heard anyone say anything about LA knows, is a car city. If you’re going anywhere, you’re going in your car.And after living there, I was convinced that this truth wasn’t limited to any one city. Owning a car was necessary wherever you lived.My friends placed bets on how quickly I’d ditch my beloved Volkswagen Jetta for a bicycle, telling me about the bike lanes, the BART, and so on. I patiently listened as I jingled my car keys in my pocket, confused why anyone would ever think I’d let go of such control.
When I arrived in San Francisco, I drove to work every day. Having a car was freedom. It was going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But slowly it started becoming a burden, both mental and financial.That large dent someone anonymously gifted me on my driver’s side door? I can’t turn my leased car in with that. Do I fix it now or later? Those $68 parking tickets that amassed so quickly? But that’s more than the cost of my lease each month! The reasons kept piling up. Skyrocketing gas prices, flat tires, overnight parking, more hit and run gifts, a speeding ticket, smashed windows. That glow of freedom? It was from a bonfire fed by a never-ending stream of my money.
Enter Uber and Lyft. Since giving up my car in October ’13 I haven’t waited more than 5 minutes from the moment I thought about needing a car to buckling my seatbelt. They hydrate me, tell me great stories, or, if I want, give me the space and time to do that last bit of work before a meeting. I don’t look for parking, or worry about gas, or get upset if someone cuts me off on the highway. That’s real freedom.
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