How difficult is it to live without a car in Canada?
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While the day-to-day conveniences of car ownership are numerous, ranging from spontaneous road trips to quick store jaunts, navigating life in Canada without a car can present its own set of challenges. It can sometimes mean grappling with stressful daily commuting or facing limitations in housing options.
So, what are some of the biggest challenges Canadians without vehicles may face? Let's break it down.
It can prevent you from finding more affordable housing
Big cities like Toronto and Ottawa have good walkability and public transit, but living there is expensive. If you're looking to relocate or buy a new home, having a car can provide you with more options.
For example, the average price for a three-bedroom house in Toronto is $1.4 million. Relocating to a city with less public transportation, like Orillia, could reduce house prices by as much as 60%. Even shopping in Toronto suburbs like Ajax or Oshawa, cities which rely on cars, can reduce house prices by up to 52%.
If ownership isn’t currently viable, renting in a city like Oshawa is roughly 33% lower than in Toronto, reducing your living expenses.
It can limit opportunities and restrict your job search
Reliable transportation is important for people who want to improve their careers or find jobs. A US study found that car owners (in general) earned more money. They also had a 40% higher employment rate overall.
It’s undeniable that public transportation can hinder your ability to explore lucrative opportunities if they are too far from where you live. This is especially true for those with constraints, such as childcare, which further restricts available working hours.
Additionally, not having a vehicle can prevent candidates from attending networking events, workshops and seminars centred on personal and professional growth—many of which may be in areas that aren’t well-serviced by public transportation.
It can make your daily commute up to 50% longer
While it varies depending on location, driving generally saves time in your daily commute to and from work. A study by Statistics Canada found that the average Canadian commute in major cities took 44 minutes using public transit.
In comparison, commuting by car took only 27 minutes—a 44% total daily reduction in commuting time. Not to mention the bonus of the overall comfort and privacy that comes with commuting in your own car, as opposed to a crowded bus or train.
As well, consider scenarios like childcare or school pick-ups. Additional stops along the way may add minutes to a driving commute, but it could add considerably more time and cost to a transit commute.
You have less freedom to get up and go
Above all is the freedom to grab your keys and head out on an adventure on your terms—a concept that loses allure when planning it around transit restrictions. Not only that, but some errands just can’t be accomplished via transit.
For example, going to Costco to stock up for a dinner party or taking a short ride to avoid the 91% Uber Eats markup on your favourite restaurant would cost more than it saves without a car. Likewise, having a car during an emergency could be crucial, especially if you have kids or a partner with health problems.
Are you thinking of purchasing a new or used vehicle in Canada? Contact LendCare today and learn how our auto financing can turn the upfront cost of getting behind the wheel into more manageable monthly payments.