• Steff Booth

No car: Independence or not?



When I set up Girl Friday in 2014, it became quickly apparent that my car was getting used less and less. Most of my clients were using my services on a virtual basis (i.e. I was undertaking tasks for them whilst working from home) with only a couple of clients requiring my services on-site.


My lovely car was lucky if it got a run out once a month so gradually, things started to go wrong (as one garage put it, "the age of your car and the fact that you're just not using it, means that everything perishable is perishing").


It was coming up to MOT time again and I suddenly got a new warning light appear on the dashboard, one that I'd never seen before - the airbag light. I took the car to my usual garage but their computer was unable to analyse what the problem was. I then enlisted the help of a mobile mechanic who after charging me £40, told me that his three computers were also unable to determine what the problem was and that I would have to bite the bullet and go direct to BMW.


BMW were kind enough to charge me £150 to tell me that I needed to replace the control panel for the airbag - total cost for this along with a few other bits was going to cost me £2,000.


I loved my car. I'd had it for ten years. But having to weigh up what it was worth with the hefty repair cost, knowing that it was just going to sit and perish some more, brought me to the decision of getting rid of it. I sold it the following week for £2,000 to a company that buy unwanted cars.


It was good to put some money in the bank and to also feel delight that the annual insurance cost, road fund license and MOT and servicing costs would no longer be a burden. But for the few times a year that I would use the car, I would have to find an alternative mode of transport.


Now that I've moved out of London and now live 'up north', I'm in a quandary; shall I get myself a car again? My work hasn't changed and I still don't need to have a car for business but I would like to get to know the area a bit more which is a bit trickier just by foot. My family are closer to me here but it's still a journey to get to them - three hours by train but only an hour and a quarter by car.


In addition to the outlay to purchase a car and whatever petrol was required, I would still be paying in the region of £1,000 per year just to keep the car on the road.


I've looked into car hire and car clubs but with none really local to me, they don't seem like a viable option.


I've had a car since I was 17 years old. I miss the independence of having a car parked outside that I can use whenever I want but am also grateful that I no longer have to pay for something that I rarely use.


With no car, am I independent or not? What do you think?

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