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Ditching Your Car in College

October 20th, 2010

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College students who want to save some serious money may want to look into ditching their vehicle. If you’re living on campus, are not working, or have a job on-campus or a short distance from campus, have you given any thought to how you might be able to manage—and even thrive—without a car?

First of all, many college towns and college facilities are set up with cyclists and bike accessibility in mind. A bike and a good quality lock to keep it secure add up to a small investment compared to the monthly payments you will have to make for a car, insurance costs, maintenance, gas and other routine vehicle-related expenses like inspection and registration. Not to mention you run the risk of your car being burglarized or vandalized on and near college campuses, where theft and burglary are the number one property crimes. Students who live and/or work on campus may not even need a bike, as many buildings are within walking distance.

Secondly, many universities are home to extensive tram systems available for free for student use or for a low fee. Even if you had to use the tram every single weekday, you would likely pay less than you would for keeping and maintaining a car. Many college towns also feature extensive public transportation systems, particularly if you live in a major metro area. Even many mid-sized towns have small systems of public transportation that take people to and from work and to and from popular destinations like grocery stores and shopping malls.

You can also chip in on the price of gas to carpool with a friend when you want to go out of town or if you need to hitch a ride during a particularly rainy day. It may be pricy to get back to your home town to see your family, but the money you save by not paying a car payment every month gives you the opportunity to sock some cash aside every month for those types of expenses.

Finally, consider the fact that you are doing your part to keep the environment healthy every time you walk or ride your bike instead of driving, which releases carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Not only that, walking and riding your bike are healthy for your body as well, provided much-needed exercise in a culture of obesity.

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