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Having Only One Car

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Two kids, one car - is it possible?

April 2006

We have one toddler and one car that we happily don't use much, but we are expecting another child later this year. For environmental and other reasons, we don't want to purchase another car. Two kids, one car - can it work? Any tips how how to make a one car life (or even no car life) work with kids would be great. Thanks!
Reluctant car user


We have two kids, two adults, one car, and have always been able to work out transportation. It's extremely rare that both parents would need our car--and I don't think the second child has changed that. As before, we have our own legs, strollers, baby carriers (including Baby Bjorn and Ergo), a bike with child seat, and public transportation as alternatives to our car. (We haven't even needed a double stroller!) Everyone's travel habits are different, and I know it also depends on your neighborhood, so I'm not sure I can give more specific advice. However, I'd recommend you give your one car a try and buy another later if necessary.
one two-door car
We have one kid and NO car! We are heavy users of public transit (kids love the bus), I commute to work by bicycle (I even have a trailer for the munchkin for weekend rides in the park), and we are members of City Carshare. I would highly recommend looking into City Carshare if you are worried about needing a second car just for occasional use running errands and such. their website is http://www.citycarshare.org.
carfree mom
We have two kids and NO CAR! We did have one car til the kids were 4 and 6 but it was stolen and we could not afford a new one and now we bus, BART, walk, bike (with trailer) and joined City CarShare www.citycarshare.org and occasionally rent a car for out of town trips. (Rent a relic in Oakland is only $25 a day). We do have the advantage of living near kids' school and and we did not use the car to commute.

You can do it! We save at least $2000-3000 per year by not having a car - even when we had a 10-year old car it was alot to pay insurance, maintenance, gas, tickets - so I give myself permission to use CCS and rent a car whenever I need to because it really still is much cheaper over the year, just takes a bit more planning. I am pleasantly surprised at the new habits and seeing more of the local streets and slowing down to see gardens and get more exercise ''Forget low-carb, go on the low-car diet.''
clark


I've come to view cars as the root of much environmental evil in modern life so I salute your desire to avoid two cars! I have two kids (five and nine) and one car. Here's what makes it work: 1) we can easily walk to BART & kids school 2) we don't HAVE to have a car for work. My husband and I have access to rental cars if needed for work (a pain to arrange but you get use to it). Or I carpool with fellow meeting attendees -- B a great chance to get to know people. There are times where having a second car would make life easier. But I know if we had a second car we wouldn't take public transit or walk or bike as much 'cuz it's easy to forget about the costs (gas, insurance) or the impacts to the environment (considerable and far beyond just air pollution and gas consumption). I've found one car to work fine and we save a ton of money but we do experience slightly more (but only slightly) inconvenience.
One car family
We just got a second car for the first time when my older child started driving. My husband biked, bused, or walked to work for 17 years. In bad weather, or when shedule necessitated it, I sometimes drove him, or he took a cab, or on occasion, we rented a car, and he is delighted to be driving to work now (I'm the one who was more environmentally concerned; we got a Prius). There were some challenges (softball game and baseball game on opposite sides of town at the exact same time), but it worked prettey well for all those years. In fact, I always considered it a little strange when families would leave places in two separate cars! You don't give enough detail to explain what you think the problem will be, so I have more questions than suggestions. How will two kids require more cars than one child? You are both managing to get where you need to go with one (and sometimes no) car, so how will that change? Especially since it sounds like you BOTH prefer - for various reasons - one car, I don't see why you can't make it work. Does one of you need the car daily for work? Are you concerned about getting two kids to different day-care sites on time each day? Are you close to convenient public transit that goes where you want to go? Do you/can you ride a bike with a two-child trailer?
One car can be plenty.
It is possible to have two kids with one car. We have two boys (4 1/2 and 2 1/2) and one car, and it's been great. That being said, we unfortunately have to get another car soon - our kids will be attending different schools in the fall and getting out at two different times, so we will need another car. You really can get by with one car; it will just depend on your work schedules, and how often each of you need to drive, but with some planning it can be done! Good luck!
cj
I am puzzled by your post. Why on earth would having a second child require a second car? Would you and your spouse/partner be splitting up where you're going, one child per adult, all the time? Otherwise, I can't see why you wouldn't be able to get two children, one adult, or two children, two adults, in one car. The children won't be driving themselves places, yet, right? (: For the record, although it's not particularly comfortable, we do fine with 2 kids and one Civic.
-Would prefer not to need a car at all
until i went to high school, my family only had one car. i have one sibling. it worked perfectly fine for us as it has for so many families in this country and yes, even in the bay area. two cars or more seem like a luxury, more than a necessity. and we lived in the suburbs, not in a major city with easy mass transportation.
one car was fine
Sure, but it isn't always easy. We have two kids (8, 4) and one car, and here's what happens: my husband rides his bike to work; if I am responsible for drop-off and pick-up of kids, I drive; otherwise I walk to BART and take it to work and leave the car at home for him to get the kids. We also joined City Car Share for those times (fairly rare) when we both have to have a car; we have a CCS pod near our house. If you live anywhere near a CCS pod, you can probably manage. But you have to want to; the $5000 or so we save a year helps me want to.
Wendy
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