Carless in Dallas



  • We were talking on another thread and I think that this is an interesting discussion. I think most everyone agrees that someday in the future, we won't own our own cars (we might not even use cars.) But more of a "today" discussion, I live in the outskirts of Dallas and currently have a family of four with a single minivan. It's a good car, but already a few years old. My hope is when it dies, to not replace it. I want to see if I can go totally without owning a car. I've done this in other countries, but that is obviously different.

    So discuss.... good idea? bad idea? impossible pipe dream? brilliant?

    Some obvious up front answers... I live close enough to Dallas that in a pinch I can walk to two train stations. Uber and Lyft both operate here, as do Uber Eats, Grub Hub, DoorDash, etc. I can walk to several grocery stores, two Walmarts, many restaurants, at least one pharmacy, etc. Long walks, but we are talking more "dire need" than "daily errands." I'm in an ideal location, other than downtown Manhattan, to experiment with having no car.

    Also, my kids home school and my wife and I both work from home. So all commuting doesn't exist for us. This feels like cheating, but someone has to be the leading edge of any movement, right?

    So my thought is, the cost of gas, maintenance, car payments, insurance, and the time spent dealing with things like tire changes, oil changes, inspections, etc. is so high that it would be as cheap or cheaper to use other services like Lyft or a car rental service when I need to drive farther and not need to own a car myself.



  • This is a great idea if it is practical where you are. But this is just a pipe dream anywhere around Atlanta... there are parts of the city where it would be easy, but then you'd be kinda stuck in the city. Getting to "outside the perimeter" here requires a car.



  • Not able to go carless, but if there was better commute options form Chicago (Schaumburg) to St Louis, I have long considered moving to a single car. We actually did it for a while when I still lived in downstate Illinois.



  • The service economy is dying, there won't be Uber, Lyft, Doordash etc much longer as people wake up to the outrageous prices and employees being classified as contractors. I wouldn't rely upon those being available.



  • In your case yes- it is a practical idea. But also consider the expense. All the services that deliver cost more.

    That said, you have to calculate the differences of that expense with the expense of a vehicle.

    Are you truly saving anything?



  • @scottalanmiller I like the idea. I LOVE cities, and have no problem being without a car. Have even done it in other countries too.

    What are the reasons for going carless? My first thought is expense and storage (garage). And my answer to that is, buy a teeny car (like a smart car, or a Chevy Bolt) and only use it as a last resort. For family trips, just rent from Enterprise, they'll bring it to you.

    We have a Bolt and not only do we all love it, (it's so zippy and easy to park), the maintenance is near $0.00

    We live on the outskirts of a large metro area and because I have to visit customers regularly, I can't do this. If Lyft and Uber were more reliable, I could give it a go, but it is hard to get one on short notice here.

    I'm purposely not going too deep, because there are so many talking points on this topic that could lead the original question astray....

    But, I do love the idea, and would do it myself if I could. This is not unlike my deep evaluation about whether we cut "cut-the-cord" on TV service. Didn't do it, but would have it it made sense from every angle.



  • @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    The service economy is dying, there won't be Uber, Lyft, Doordash etc much longer as people wake up to the outrageous prices and employees being classified as contractors. I wouldn't rely upon those being available.

    Those things are all expected to be automated long before people stop doing it. People make money doing it here and like it. I have friends who do it and they do well. It's a good gig they say. But the real fear, and extremely realistic, is that automated cars or sometimes drones, will do deliveries long before service workers decide to be unemployed. That will make the services both cheaper and more plentiful.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have friends who do it and they do well.

    They must be pretty bad at math, it's always a net loss using a personal vehicle in the gig economy. It's literally impossible to earn enough doing Doordash, Flex, Uber



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    So discuss.... good idea? bad idea? impossible pipe dream? brilliant?

    Totally dependant on location and lifestyle, as you explained more later about your specific situation, totally doable. I do it now, and it's the obvious choice here... It's also cheaper, and faster to travel without owning a car(s) in my situation.



  • @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have friends who do it and they do well.

    They must be pretty bad at math, it's always a net loss using a personal vehicle in the gig economy. It's literally impossible to earn enough doing Doordash, Flex, Uber

    I know some that live on it.



  • @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    The service economy is dying, there won't be Uber, Lyft, Doordash etc much longer as people wake up to the outrageous prices and employees being classified as contractors. I wouldn't rely upon those being available.

    OK, you have a point - to a point, which is why companies like Uber are pushing so hard for self driving vehicles.



  • @JasGot said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller I like the idea. I LOVE cities, and have no problem being without a car. Have even done it in other countries too.

    What are the reasons for going carless? My first thought is expense and storage (garage). And my answer to that is, buy a teeny car (like a smart car, or a Chevy Bolt) and only use it as a last resort. For family trips, just rent from Enterprise, they'll bring it to you.

    We have a Bolt and not only do we all love it, (it's so zippy and easy to park), the maintenance is near $0.00

    We live on the outskirts of a large metro area and because I have to visit customers regularly, I can't do this. If Lyft and Uber were more reliable, I could give it a go, but it is hard to get one on short notice here.

    I'm purposely not going too deep, because there are so many talking points on this topic that could lead the original question astray....

    But, I do love the idea, and would do it myself if I could. This is not unlike my deep evaluation about whether we cut "cut-the-cord" on TV service. Didn't do it, but would have it it made sense from every angle.

    Start a new thread - I'm curious to know your angles that made you keep it.



  • @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have friends who do it and they do well.

    They must be pretty bad at math, it's always a net loss using a personal vehicle in the gig economy. It's literally impossible to earn enough doing Doordash, Flex, Uber

    What makes it always a net loss? Cars are expensive, but not that expensive. Many do it in cheap to buy, cheap to maintain cars that get great gas mileage. Obviously car costs and maintenance takes a huge toll. But most jobs also require that you have a car, so that's a moot cost. It's the wear and tear that matters and while that's very high for someone driving Uber, it doesn't seem plausible to be "that high", especially when you get huge tax deductions.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have friends who do it and they do well.

    They must be pretty bad at math, it's always a net loss using a personal vehicle in the gig economy. It's literally impossible to earn enough doing Doordash, Flex, Uber

    I know some that live on it.

    Sure, they do, now that they already own the vehicle - but when it comes time to replace that vehicle, will they be able to, so they can keep that job going?



  • @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have friends who do it and they do well.

    They must be pretty bad at math, it's always a net loss using a personal vehicle in the gig economy. It's literally impossible to earn enough doing Doordash, Flex, Uber

    I know some that live on it.

    Sure, they do, now that they already own the vehicle - but when it comes time to replace that vehicle, will they be able to, so they can keep that job going?

    Presumably, people making similar money at other jobs are able to buy cars. Why would they be different?



  • @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    The service economy is dying, there won't be Uber, Lyft, Doordash etc much longer as people wake up to the outrageous prices and employees being classified as contractors. I wouldn't rely upon those being available.

    A lot of related stuff like the scooter\ebike rental services have been running on VC money. In some cases that money is drying up and prices are increasing. We'll see how long it all lasts.

    Denver is losing another car share in the next month so fewer options to get around for those of us that have dropped personal motor vehicle ownership. There are now 0 car share companies in my neighborhood rather than 2-3 when I ditched the car.

    So yeah try not to make the decision based on access to any particular company's offerings.



  • @NDC said in Carless in Dallas:

    A lot of related stuff like the scooter\ebike rental services have been running on VC money. In some cases that money is drying up and prices are increasing. We'll see how long it all lasts.

    And a lot of places want to git rid of those disasters. Austin is getting ruined by them.



  • @NDC said in Carless in Dallas:

    Denver is losing another car share in the next month so fewer options to get around for those of us that have dropped personal motor vehicle ownership. There are now 0 car share companies in my neighborhood rather than 2-3 when I ditched the car.

    That sucks, although too many make it harder. I think two is plenty if you can get two.



  • @NDC said in Carless in Dallas:

    So yeah try not to make the decision based on access to any particular company's offerings.

    Keep in mind that giving up a car is not a one way decision. Can always buy one later.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    @batman said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have friends who do it and they do well.

    They must be pretty bad at math, it's always a net loss using a personal vehicle in the gig economy. It's literally impossible to earn enough doing Doordash, Flex, Uber

    I know some that live on it.

    Sure, they do, now that they already own the vehicle - but when it comes time to replace that vehicle, will they be able to, so they can keep that job going?

    Presumably, people making similar money at other jobs are able to buy cars. Why would they be different?

    I have no idea what 'similar' money is though... But unlike say a job at McD's... the car itself might be a $1000 (or less) beater, just good enough to get them to and from McD's... that same junker wouldn't last long and would likely get horrible reviews on uber, etc.

    Now, as you mentioned before - the uber driver can write off mileage, etc on their taxes for the job, but I'm wondering if maintaining the car for uber, etc, isn't significantly more expensive than the costs for working at some place like McD's.



  • @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    I have no idea what 'similar' money is though... But unlike say a job at McD's... the car itself might be a $1000 (or less) beater, just good enough to get them to and from McD's... that same junker wouldn't last long and would likely get horrible reviews on uber, etc.

    Uber makes like 60% more than a typical McD's job. And beaters cost a lot to operate which makes the lost price feel better than it really is. And you need them more often. We often state that we "can't afford to drive a car so old" and it is very true.



  • @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    Now, as you mentioned before - the uber driver can write off mileage, etc on their taxes for the job, but I'm wondering if maintaining the car for uber, etc, isn't significantly more expensive than the costs for working at some place like McD's.

    Well oil changes, brakes, tires, etc. will be more for sure. But the purchase price and whatnot likely isn't. The tax offset isn't nothing, having lots of cash for that stuff goes a long way.

    And remember, for Uber you have no commute time, no limit on hours to work, no set schedule, etc. Minor, but something.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    Uber makes like 60% more than a typical McD's job. And beaters cost a lot to operate which makes the lost price feel better than it really is. And you need them more often. We often state that we "can't afford to drive a car so old" and it is very true.

    yep absolutely true, but those same people buying the beaters, generally can't afford to buy something newer with fewer problems. - no cash - no credit...



  • And the majority of Uber drivers do it as a second job. And that is huge. As a second job, Uber is clean, flexible, profitable. You need a car anyway, for most people, and jobs like McD's don't have the flexibility to let you do them on the side very easily. And working as an Uber driver is "cool", working flipping burgers is not when it comes to social views on side jobs.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    Now, as you mentioned before - the uber driver can write off mileage, etc on their taxes for the job, but I'm wondering if maintaining the car for uber, etc, isn't significantly more expensive than the costs for working at some place like McD's.

    Well oil changes, brakes, tires, etc. will be more for sure. But the purchase price and whatnot likely isn't. The tax offset isn't nothing, having lots of cash for that stuff goes a long way.

    And remember, for Uber you have no commute time, no limit on hours to work, no set schedule, etc. Minor, but something.

    No commute time? you sure? I don't get to write off my commute to my day job, do cabbies and Uber get to write off the drive to the first client? or the drive between clients?

    I mean sure it seems like the right thing to do... but you know - laws and stuff... I have no clue where they come down on it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    And working as an Uber driver is "cool", working flipping burgers is not when it comes to social views on side jobs.

    This makes absolutely NO sense to me - but yeah, people do seem to think being an uber driver is cool, while other typical second jobs aren't.



  • If you don't want to own a car, don't own a car. It's as simple as that.

    Will you save any money? That's a totally different question. Depends on a million other things.

    But just let the car stay in the driveway for a month and you'll know in about 30 days.



  • @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    No commute time? you sure? I don't get to write off my commute to my day job, do cabbies and Uber get to write off the drive to the first client? or the drive between clients?

    Yes, obviously, because it is part of the job. You would get to write it off if you were a company and working as you walked out the door. As an MSP, we certainly get to write that stuff off when we are between clients.



  • @Dashrender said in Carless in Dallas:

    @scottalanmiller said in Carless in Dallas:

    And working as an Uber driver is "cool", working flipping burgers is not when it comes to social views on side jobs.

    This makes absolutely NO sense to me - but yeah, people do seem to think being an uber driver is cool, while other typical second jobs aren't.

    Because flexible hours, nice car (kinda), don't smell like fried food, don't report to a 19 year old manager.



  • @Pete-S said in Carless in Dallas:

    But just let the car stay in the driveway for a month and you'll know in about 30 days.

    Then I have to pay for it all month. However, I'm doing just this this week. My car is gone and so it is going on right now, so to speak. Not doing 30 days, but pretty close. Other than a commute between Austin and Dallas (that I've done by bus before and prefer) it will be three weeks of me with no car. So a decent test.


Log in to reply