What does living car-free look like?

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As car-related costs rise, our cities develop, and the transport landscape changes, living car-free becomes more feasible and attractive.

A growing number of Kiwis have already made the conscious decision to give up owning a car, in favour of more flexible, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly transport options. They use a combination of public transport, ridesharing services, active modes of transport, and Yourdrive car sharing to get where they want, when they want. Read these people's stories here.

If you the costs of car ownership aren't stacking up for you, work your way through the following questions to find out if you're suited to the car-free lifestyle.

Understand your current transport habits

Look at how many car trips you make each week and consider how many could be substituted for public transport (ie bus, train, ferry etc), shared transport (ie uber, zoomy etc), or active modes transport (ie cycling, walking etc). All of these modes of transport are far more environmentally friendly - bonus!

For short trips like the daily commute to and from work, public transport is perfect. Buses and trains come frequently during peak hours and likely take a route which passes fairly close to your house. While they may not appear to take the most direct route, buses and trains can be faster than cars as bus lanes and train tracks separate them from the traffic on the roads. Sit back and relax or get a head start on emails while you're driven to your destination! Alternatively, active modes or transport are a great way to travel shorter distances and incorporate some light exercise into your routine.

For slightly longer trips or when you have baggage, ride-sharing is a great choice. You pay for the distance and time taken to travel to your destination. They can take you anywhere, anytime - simply hail a driver through your smartphone and you'll be on your way. Bonus - you don't have to worry about parking once you arrive! 

If you're wanting to venture further afield, have gear, or a group to transport, car sharing is the best option. Yourdrive is New Zealand's leading car sharing platform with hundred's of privately-owned vehicles available to rent all over New Zealand. By renting from local residents, you'll find a wider range of better-value vehicles and more pick-up locations than traditional car rental companies. You'll also get travel tips and advice from a friendly local, and it’s better for the environment! Find out nine ways car sharing beats traditional car rental in NZ here.

Work out how much you could be saving

The costs of car ownership far exceed the purchase price, but it can be easy to lose track of exactly how much you're spending on your car! Breaking it down and adding up all the contributing costs will help you understand just how much you're shelling out annually. Check out this blog post to find out how much your car is costing you.

By foregoing car ownership, you'll have no fixed costs, only paying for what you use. We've generously estimated what someone living in a central suburb of Auckland (Freemans Bay, St Marys Bay, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Parnell, Mt Eden, Kingsland, Eden Terrace, Grey Lynn, Newmarket) would spend on transport in a year using a combination of modes. 

Annual transport cost = $3064

  • Public transport - $1716 (2 x $3.30 two-stage bus/train rides per weekday)
  • Ride-sharing - $1248 (2 x $12 rides per week)
  • Car sharing - $1000 (8 x 48 hour Yourdrive rentals)
  • Shared active modes - $20 (20 hours of Onzo bike hire)

Analyse where you spend your time

Living a car-free life is best suited to people who live, work, and socialise in or near the city centre. These areas tend to have ride-sharing service coverage, are well connected with public transport services, and have walkable distances.

Consider how spontaneous you are

Living a car-free life involves a little bit more forward planning. You'll need to work with public transport schedules and should aim to book car sharing rentals in advance to ensure you get the best variety and value.


Thousands of Kiwis are already using Yourdrive to rent vehicles from locals.
Try peer-to-peer car sharing for your next trip and experience a hint of what car-free life could be like.

Sign up to rent Learn more about renting


Posted by Kezia Lynch on 12th of October, 2018