Should You Buy a Car or Use Public Transport

Scott is a software engineer by profession. He recently switched from one software firm to another. The new firm provides him with good facilities, flexible work timings and a good pay. But it was far from his place.

It would take him one hour to reach to his new office compared to 30 minutes that he used to travel previously in his previous firm. Scott decided to buy a car as it will reduce the travelling time by 10–15 minutes compared to public transport. Also, having a car would let him take his spouse and kids on a road trip during weekends. So he bought a new car on a mortgage.

It was black color Cadillac Sedan. A fancy car. Scott paid all the taxes and insurance money and started taking his car to his new office. He used to reach to his new office in 45 minutes, 15 minutes less compared to public transport. During weekends, Scott used to go out with his family on a road trip and have a lot of fun.

Every week Scott had to wash his car and maintain it. He used to do it by himself to save some Dollars on washing and cleaning his car. Also he had to pay for his mortgage every month. Somehow, Scott managed to do it with the help of increased pay in his new firm.

One day, while commuting to his office, Scott met with an accident. The car in front of Scott’s car suddenly applied brake on the highway to save a street dog’s life. As a result, Scott was not able to control his car. Fortunately there was no injury to any of the drivers, but both the cars were heavily damaged. Scott received partial amount from insurance company but lost a huge chunk of his money due to accident. Repairing the damaged car would take more money and Scott couldn’t afford it. He started commuting to his office using public transport.

It was a financial loss for Scott but he learnt few lessons from the car accident. He understood that car is a Liability and it needs a lot of maintenance. And if there is any serious damage, it is useless repairing it. Either you will have to pay huge chunk of money to repair it or just throw it away.


Advantages of having a Car:

Flexible Timing

If you have your own car, you have the freedom of doing things on your own time. You don’t have to be at the bus stop exactly at specific time to catch the bus.

You can go anywhere you want at the time you have decided. If you are using public transport, it will not wait for you until you come and catch it. Whereas if you have a car, you are the king of your own time.

Privacy

Having a car provides you privacy. You can go with your family on a road trip or picnic and nobody is going to disturb you.

Scott used to go for road trips during weekends with his spouse and kids. Nobody disturbed them while they were enjoying their drive. It doesn’t happen in public transport. Having a car makes you feel more comfortable compared to using public transport.

Less Travelling Time

Using public transport is time consuming. Since it is for ‘public’, the vehicles stop at appropriate halts and bus stops.

Owning a car reduces your travelling time. You don’t have to wait for anyone to reach to your destination.

Disadvantages of having a Car:

Expensive

While there are many advantages, there are few disadvantages as well. Owning a car is expensive.

It’s not just about the cost of a car but you also have to look after it’s maintenance and insurance. And the expense is not one time but recurring. That’s why car is a Liability to some extent. It makes you feel good to have your own car but at the same time you have to pay for the expenses as well.

Maintenance Cost and Time

Scott used to wash and clean his car on his own. Though it saved money but it stole Scott’s time. Instead of washing and cleaning his car, he could have improved his skills by learning something new that would be helpful to him in his career.

What most people don’t see is the recurring maintenance cost and the time that they have to give to their vehicles in order to maintain them. If a car is not really needed then it’s not worth having one.

Liability

“Liability is something that takes out money from your pocket.”

Car is indeed taking out money from your pocket. Scott had to pay to buy a new car. He had to pay for taxes and insurance. He had to pay for replacement of his car’s parts. Most importantly, he had to spend his time to wash and clean it to save some Dollars.

Instead of buying a car and commuting to your workplace, how about using a public transport and using the time available (that you would use to drive) to learn and improve on your skills. That would help you in your career as well. May be in some cases it is difficult if there is no public transport available and you have to find other ways to commute to your workplace, but if it is available, it’s wise to let the bus driver drive the bus for you and you invest your time in learning useful skills and improve them. You get extra time to learn useful skills and save a lot of money by not buying a car and using public transport.


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Originally published on FinCalC Blog