We don’t own a car and we have no intention of buying one. It’s very easy to live in Aberdeen without a car as we can walk and cycle everywhere. This is our car (photo was taken a couple of months ago when there was snow and ice on the ground and I think Ben must have been shivering when he took it as it’s all blurry):
For longer journeys we catch the train which we love because train travel is just the best. Very occasionally though, it’s nice to have a car. For instance, over Christmas we went to Ballater and there’s no train out there so we hired a car for a week. We’ve also caught a handful of taxis since we got here.
Just recently we discovered there’s a car club in Aberdeen called Co-wheels so we decided to join up. There’s a one-off membership fee of £25 and after that it’s £5 per month if you don’t hire a car, free if you do hire a car. There are 18 co-wheels cars in Aberdeen, and they’re a mix of petrol, hybrid, and electric cars. Members can book the cars online for as little as 1 hour at a time or for as long as you want. The electric cars are very cheap to hire at only £3.75 per hour and there’s no fuel cost because they plug into public charging stations. Registration and insurance are fully covered and the maintenance and cleaning of the car is also taken care of. So essentially we get the use of a car whenever we want, without all the hassle and expense (including the depreciation) of actually owning it. And let’s face it, who wants to spend their free time washing and vacuuming the car?
Something else which struck me as very useful is that there are co-wheels cars all over the UK and we can use any of them. So we could catch the train to the Lake District for a holiday. Then if we want a car while we’re there, we can book one of the co-wheels cars in the area. We haven’t used the cars yet and I’m not sure how often we’ll actually want to use one but it’s useful to have and I like knowing that we’re supporting a great social enterprise. It might come in handy for picking up family members from the airport when they come to visit or for taking a drive one Sunday to see a castle which is not on the train line.