The news today (link, link, link) among the car-free sort is Zipcar is buying out Flexcar. There’s some rumor that Flexcar has been troubled financially, but I read it as a loss of choice, value and quality for those in Washington, D.C. moving away from car ownership. Especially if you’re under 25, and without a good option to rent a car from a traditional agency.
But I doubt the change will mean much to Hubby and me. We started out both as Flexcar subscribers a couple of years ago when we sent our car to live on a farm with other old cars. Each adult needs a membership but Jonathan is a better driver than I am, so he drove us here and there and to IKEA as needed. Then after a year of never renting a car, I canceled my subscription, and I’m not sure how many times he’s gotten a car since. Twice?
Living so far downtown, within walking distance to both jobs, has moved us from car owners to car borrowers to occasional transit users. We pay more in rent than we might, but we pay much less in transportation costs. Combined — and that’s not a bad way to account for the cost of housing — we’re getting a bargain. I can’t imagine doing otherwise. It isn’t perfect, but the living arrangement we have is not unlike the life one adopts (if only in part) when visiting foreign cities, and that’s so often the highlight of going abroad.
The question is this: how can this be a better option for more Americans? That is, life without obligatory car use.