A month ago, our Atlanta General Manager, Sam, decided to give up his car for 30 days and only ride with Lyft, documenting his experiences along the way. Now that he's been carless for a month, we sat down with him to asses the challenge:
"So, what’s the answer — was riding Lyft for a month cheaper than driving myself? Maybe. But was it all 'worth it'? Absolutely. Let me explain.
Over the course of 30 days, I spent just over $420 on Lyft rides. Most of those were related to my daily commute, and slanted heavily to work travel. I took a few weekend rides to go to dinners or parties, but those are rides I probably would have taken anyway even if I hadn’t given up my car. That said, they’re all included here.
To check the simple price comparison, I tallied my monthly expenses on insurance, gas, and routine quarterly maintenance and cleaning. These are the costs that are easily identifiable, and I definitely wouldn’t have to pay if I’d given up my car.
For comparison, my monthly car insurance is about $100/month. I get several discounts because we have several policies with the same provider. My average spend on gas for the previous three months was about $150 (the joys of having an SUV!). My average spend on car washes and maintenance was about $70 (I took an oil change and tire rotation from two months ago divided by three, and counted a car wash). So, I was out of pocket $320 or so, which makes my Lyft experiment about $100 more expensive on simple price comparison.
But, I also typically pay for a valet or parking garage occasionally, which is harder to track. Maybe that’s $20 a month? So let's call it $80 more expensive per month. And then there’s the heavier maintenance, new tires (when needed), and deductibles if there’s an accident. That's harder to track specifically, but is it worth a full $80 on a monthly basis? Maybe. Also, I don’t have a car payment. If I did, this math would have flipped positive for Lyft several paragraphs ago.
But was it worth it? That requires valuing time and experience. Depending on the day, I would chat with my driver, do work for a few extra minutes, listen to radio, or, in one brief instance, catch a catnap. All of which (with the exception of radio), would not be an option if I were driving myself around. What’s that extra time worth? A wise man once told me: 'everybody in the world gets the same amount of time each day — but you and you alone set your exchange rate.' I met people from all over the world, and heard some fascinating, hilarious, and exhilarating stories in the process. Yes, it was worth it. And I can’t wait to see as more people take the plunge and share their stories as well.
Finally, apologies for the delay in this posting — I am just getting back to officially wrapping the experiment. Interestingly enough, what prompted me to get my act together and finalize the experiment was the recognition that one of my colleagues had taken the plunge! He sold his second car, and is going to use Lyft as his family’s second car. Hopefully these numbers make him feel even better about his decision!"
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