We sold our cars and now we uber everywhere.

This post is overdue. In November 2016 we decided to do an experiment and sell both our cars in order to get one, bigger, shared family car. The idea was that one of us would have the car and the other one would use mobile app service Uber to get around. At first, Jon thought it would be a few weeks until we could decide what second, smaller car we’d get. He threw around a few crazy ideas like buying a hobby car to tinker on and get around. I laughed and laughed and then he said he would get an old school mini and after he got off the floor after I knocked him over with my scoffing, we forgot about the conversation a while. Fast forward to June 2017 and we’ve not bought a second car.

We’ve been met with mixed reactions when people find out. Friends furrow their brow when I tell them Aidey and I uber to his school in the mornings. We’ve bought a compact and lightweight toddler car seat for him which we plug into the Uber every morning before we’re off and he loves that he gets his own “chair”. He enjoys practising his manners greeting what he calls the “Suber” drivers every day “Good morneen! Me Aidey, school, my chair. Suber!” he informs them very seriously each time. His highlight is sitting in my office chair every morning, looking at my iPhone following the little cars on the app and then looking out the window when I tell them it’s getting closer. When the uber arrives he squeals with excitement, jumps down from the chair, shouts to the dog, “BYE SUSIE! BYE!”, grabs his school bag and then clamours to get up into my arms so we can walk outside.

Others have scoffed that we only have one car between us “But surely you can afford two cars, guys?” – Yes, we can. But we choose not to. This somehow seems to be quite ridiculous to other people. “But you drove an Audi! Now you uber?”. Yep, welcome to adulting PLUS Parenthood, where the ego disappears entirely.

I promised I’d report back to quite a few people, so here’s that promise being fulfilled now. I’ll try be as objective as I can in a quick pro/con summary.

Cons:

  1. We use Uber X (the cheaper option) daily, so the actual car is not as comfortable as our family SUV, but I primarily use it to get Aiden to school and then come back home, a 20 minute round trip at worst.
  2. The anti-social nerd in me hates making small talk. So I learned very quickly to greet politely and then get busy talking to my toddler about his upcoming day and reinforcing the need for him to be nice and have fun and show kindness. Not all drivers pick up on this and *insist* on trying to draw me into strained conversation.
  3. Heaters. Now that it’s winter, the cars are blasting thick, hot air that stifles me half to death. I end up opening the window 9 times out of 10 just to get fresh air.
  4. Not that this is a biggie, but Jon and I are forced to plan ahead. We need to make sure our calendars are always up to date in order to see who gets the car the next day. We’ve agreed that whoever has the least distance to travel will Uber so as not to incur unnecessary expenses.
  5. Rocking up in an Uber doesn’t always give off the best impressions to new clients, I learned this the hard way. Ugh, perceptions.
  6. You need to ensure your phone battery never dies while you’re out or you won’t have a means to call an Uber to take you home.
  7. Taxi wars tend to be a bit of a morale dampner on the drivers. We’ve had two strikes since November where Uber services in our area came to a halt due to safety concern.
  8. Your husband *will* on occasion take the car keys AND an Uber, rendering you a prisoner in your own home for minutes until you realise that you will, too, have to uber – leaving your perfectly fancy family SUV in the garage to have a day off.

 

Pros:

  1. Jon works further away than Aiden’s school so I uber in the mornings so that Jon gets to keep the car. When I have meetings, we swap. We’re saving quite a lot in costs this way. Our Uber bill is roughly R4k a month. This is way less than a premium car payment, insurance and petrol costs. So we’re saving moolah.
  2. We’ve never had to wait more than 5 minutes for an Uber.
  3. The drivers tend to stick to routine areas so know their way around and don’t mess about getting lost or taking the longer way round. By getting us to the destination faster, they’re able to pick up their next rider sooner.
  4. Most of the drivers have been great with Aiden. At worst, two drivers have ignored him entirely and didn’t answer his excited babbling. This pisses me off, but I guess not all people will find my kid as adorable as I do.
  5. There are so.many.uber.drivers. In the months we’ve been doing this, I haven’t had a repeated driver.
  6. The cars are generally well taken care of and are clean and smell nice. More than I can say about our SUV’s messy state.
  7. We get to drink on date nights. Nuff said.
  8. No parking ticket fees or ATMs that never bloody accept your dodgy ten rand note. Hooray!
  9. Less carbon monoxide in the air because less cars on the road. Works for me.
  10. When ubering to places that are longer than 10 minutes, I get to do work in the back seat so if we’re stuck in traffic I feel less ragey and more productive.

The “experiment” has become a way of life for us now. I highly recommend anyone interested in trying this to do it. We may still buy a second, smaller car yet, but we’re certainly not in a hurry to do so.

 

Featured image: Shutterstock

This is not a sponsored post. 

9 comments

  1. Karen says:

    I completely agree. We’ve done the same thing since October last year. T drops me off at work in the morning, which is on the way to her office and I keep my Vespa at work for short trips here and there. For everything else, or if the weather is bad, or I don’t want helmet hair, I Uber. If we are doing different things on weekends, one of us uses Uber. It has been an absolute pleasure and a huge saving. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t travel too far. We are far more organised and we spend a lot more quality time together in the car.

  2. Angel says:

    Its brilliant that it works for you! We have one car (can’t afford a second one now), so my hubby uses the Gautrain and their buses, and occasionally an Uber if I can’t pick him up or he misses the company shuttle.
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  3. Jacky says:

    Also sold our 2nd car a few years ago and haven’t looked back. We are lucky to work together, so we fetch & drop the kids together, and if one of us needs the car, the other just takes an uber. Hubby also travels a lot, but Uber’s to the airport and back are still cheaper than an extra car plus airport parking!

  4. Bronwynne says:

    Really interesting! It’s funny how we love catching public transport like the subway overseas but simply can’t get our heads around alternative transport in SA. We always use Uber for weekend travelling, especially because we can both drink. On Friday I left a very special wrap in the back of the Uber! Devastated. But 1click & a phone call & 3 hours later he arrived back to drop it off. So grateful! Definite pro’s!

  5. Nadia says:

    Agree.

    Not sure about Jozi, but In Cape Town it’s completely normal to rock up in an Uber, to client meetings as well – who wants to waste time parking and paying.

    We’ve had one car for 2 years. We lived in Sea point and worked in green point. Uber’d to work daily and only used the car on weekends.

    Great article – great perspectives

  6. Karen Milford says:

    What car seat did you get? My husband and I have talked about doing this for a while and I always get worried about the hassle of clipping and unclipping car seats.

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