Car Sharing Needs Legs, Until Then I’ll Pay for Parking

Today I relearned an important lesson: Don’t be stubborn or cheap.

After a $600 tow job, and more than three $50 parking tickets, sleepless nights of worrying (no exaggeration) and hours spent strategically moving my car in and out of a garage nearby that charges $6/day from 6am-6:30pm as long you get in before 10am, I gave in.

In this age of sharing, I thought I could easily find a car share deal or find someone that I could rent from for $100/month for an outdoor spot within 30 minute public transit of my house. Turns out, that’s not so. At least, not for the time being.

If you move to San Francisco and want to live downtown, I highly recommend you either find a friends house to park your car ahead of time or plan to find a garage. Luckily, I found a garage near me that charges $175/month with in an out privileges in an enclosed garage. When I leave to travel for a month or two at a time, I can put my car in a lot that charges around $75/month for no in-and-out privileges (just storage) or offer it to a friend to use while I’m gone.

I could park in front of my house and still worry about street cleaning, parking for over 72 hours in the same spot and being towed or ohhh yah that side of the street across from my apartment that magically turns into a lane at 3pm daily. I can remember all these things, sure. To get a parking permit, I have to pay $98 per year (cheap!), show a copy of my license (wallet stolen a few weeks ago), current registration (smog failed because of some $500 sensor error / check engine light) and proof of residency.

For now, no more hoop jumping or wishful thinking. I have a parking spot and that’s cleared out my division of time and space to think and be inspired. What’s the value of that?

Mental/emotional capacity are what give me strength, productivity and the ability to move forward. You take that away and all monthly expenses have diminished in value. I think about spillover costs/benefits a lot in decision making, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks.

So, pay for parking and look outside of Craigslist and scrappy solutions. Try sanfrancisco.bestparking.com. Or SELL YOUR CAR!

Wait, wait, wait! What about car sharing?

You can use Zipcar or City Car Share for short errands and rent a car for weekend trips. Zipcar doesn’t work for overnight trips because they charge hourly and then a hefty overnight fee, so it can end up being $100/day or more. If you’re going to an event or to a party an hour away, it’s still not the greatest. If you drive 1 hour there and back, that’s 2 hours. Then, you might spend 3-4 hours there. Now, you’re up to 6 hours and at $8 an hour, that’s $48. Yowza. Public transit: yes please!

This whole ordeal still has me thinking –> What will it take for our society to be able/want to share cars/space? See, I have a car, but no space. I’m sure there are other people with space, but no car. Why isn’t it easy to share with all of the technology we have today. What if there was something that combined the tenants of Zipcar with individuals, virtual calendars and a standardized unlocking system? Does this already exist? I’m sure it does somewhere. Let’s make it go big. Technology and society are ready for this!

Interesting read:
How to Start Your Own Car Sharing Program
 

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