The transition into college is a time of liberation and independence. For many students it marks the abandonment of curfews. It marks the chance to start anew and explore interests at will. At Zagster, we’re here to send an important message: you don’t need a car for any of this. The push-back is understandable. A car can take you far away from campus and you can escape at the slightest inclination. Yet with the rapid growth of ride-sharing programs like ZipCar and Zimride, you no longer need to own a car to drive one. In fact, having a car on campus comes with numerous burdens. Here are six reasons why you’re better off leaving your horsepower at home.
Owning a car is expensive
The “broke college student” stereotype exists for a good reason. Rising tuition means dwindling spending money, and even cars gifted from your parents can be extremely costly. Think about the price of gas, insurance, and maintenance. Moreover, many colleges are attempting to discourage cars on campus by raising the cost of parking permits. According to Forbes, students who travel without a car can expect to save about $20,000 throughout four years in college.
Parking is inconvenient
Colleges are also taking initiative to make on-campus driving inconvenient. Student parking lots are pushed to the perimeters of campus and more centrally-located parking spots are limited to staff and faculty. In addition, the heavy pedestrian and cyclist traffic on college campuses means drivers must spend precious time frustrated behind busy intersections and in search of open parking spaces.
College campuses are lively centers of activity
Perhaps you owned a car in high school to escape the locker-lined halls. College campuses are often a completely different story. College is your chance to get involved, whether it be through on-campus jobs, school clubs, social events, and everything else that your college offers. Campus is an extremely convenient place to meet people and build friendships, so it is unlikely that you will need to drive miles away to find something interesting.
You don’t want to be the token “friend with car”
One disadvantage of owning a car is that your friends will soon know it. This may or may not be a pressing issue, but it is very possible that you will be constantly asked for favors in either giving rides or lending out your car. If it becomes too much you can always say no, but the nagging will still be there.
College parking lots are hotspots for crime
Keeping your car on campus runs the risk associated with leaving any expensive possession out in the open. Packed parking lots are easy targets by those looking to cause damage to other vehicles or break in and steal belongings. Leaving your car at home is an easy way to eliminate the risk of getting caught with your windows down.
Universities spend tens of thousands of dollars on constructing, monitoring, and maintaining parking spaces on campus. They also have great incentives to reduce vehicle congestion and their carbon footprint. Thus many colleges offer rewards to those who don’t bring their car, such as discounted or free bikes, or free showers. Schools also may implement free shuttle services and subsidize public transportation to further promote car-free travel.
So, grab your textbooks, grease your wheels (two, not four), and experience what pedal power can do for you college experience!
Want bike sharing for your school? You can learn more about how to bring bike sharing to your university in our free guide The Campus Guide to Bike Sharing. Read it here.