Welcome back to Peg City Car Co-op’s Q&A series. Today we’re chatting with Sara and Joshua, two long time members who have been car-free since 2011! We had the good fortune of chatting with these two during a visit to Aurora Farm to donate their Christmas tree to the goats.
For the folks at home, these pictures were taken way back in early February. Back before the world was #cancelled. Feels like ages… So sit back, stay home, and enjoy some cute babies and llamas.
Sara, Joshua and Zander
Sara and Josh are long-time members who have taken an intentional approach to living car-free in Winnipeg. Now, with a new addition to their band @heathenevemusic, these two are still avid carsharing ambassadors. Today they share their stories, suggestions and criteria for going car-free as a new family.
Plus, babies, kittens and llamas…
Give us a little background, how long have you been car-free? What inspired you to go car-free?
Sara: We’ve been car-free since 2011! I’ve never owned a car, but Josh owned a car for 5 years.
The idea began when we moved to Argentina for a few years for work. We did not have access to a car, so we had to structure our lives around that. We quickly learned that we could walk or bike much further than we initially thought.
After moving back to Canada, we decided to try and maintain that lifestyle. So we intentionally structured our lives to support that choice.
What sort of changes did you make to support that choice? When did carsharing enter the picture?
Sara: First we started by looking for apartments in central areas, close to bus routes while biking and walking wherever we could. When we started looking to buy a home, we actually told our mortgage broker that we wouldn’t look at houses if they weren’t near a Peg City Car Co-op car.
I think they were a little frustrated by the criteria, but many people make choices this way. We have friends who say, “I found this great apartment, and there’s a bus stop right outside!” It’s the same thing with the co-op cars.
Josh: Also, living centrally keeps us close to our community. Before Peg City came around, I can’t tell you how many times we had said, “wouldn’t it be great if we all shared a car?” Most of our close friends and family only needed a car occasionally, with a few of them wanting to get rid of their car altogether. There are just a few key things you need a car for in this city.
We wanted to be members for quite a while, but before 2017, you couldn’t take the cars out of town, or overnight. We have family out of town so once that changed, we decided to join!
What were the most critical factors in your choice to go car-free? How has that evolved?
Sara: When we were thinking about getting rid of the car (and deciding to get married) we compared the difference in our bank accounts. And found Josh had spent nearly $30,000 in 5 years on the car!
Josh: I tell my students this story every year, and it blows their minds. They are just at the age where they are old enough to start dreaming of getting their licence and buying a car.
Sara: We do the math every year. With insurance, gas repair, maintenance, parking, and financing. It’s still abundantly clear to us, we are saving money.
Stats Canada reports the average Canadian spent $11,433 on private transport in 2017.
Another Peg City Member estimates owning a basic compact car would cost approximately $8,600 a year.
Josh: There is an environmental benefit aside from the very clear financial benefit.
Each carsharing car can take up to 11-15 private vehicles off the road.
I teach my middle years students about climate change and the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions every year. I even used one of the vans to drive my students to the Global Climate March, this last September!
The next generation needs to know that while their individual choices have an impact, they are part of a global community and that their voices matter.
Sara: I still don’t regret it getting rid of the vehicle. There’s just so many little things we don’t have to deal with.
Josh: Exactly, like the mornings when the car doesn’t start; getting things repaired; being stuck in traffic until 7 pm every time it snows!
Starting a family is a big change, how did carsharing fit into that transition?
Sara: Our experience is that, when you have a kid, everything becomes more difficult, generally. Carsharing feels, proportionally, just as complicated as it was before. Now we just have more doctors appoints and daycare drop-offs. We are fortunate to have a lot of parental leave between the two of us, so we can plan things out.
And like we’ve said, we review its financial and logistical performance yearly and can adjust our lifestyle as needed. As long as it continues to perform as well as it has been, we will continue to do it!
Josh: As for our typical trips:
We take the cars for trips out of town to Morden, Eli, and Swan River so we can visit family.
Josh: We are also members of the Peg City Car Co-op Ambassador Program. So we earn driving credit when we make posts about our trips!
Sara: We use cars to transport music equipment to gigs. We are a band called Heathan Eve. We often have two guitars, amps and a cello!
If we’re not mistaken, you also drove one of our cars to the hospital when you went into labour?
Sara: Hahahaha, yes!
Sara: It’s not the first time I’ve taken a Co-op car to the hospital. As a member of the medical community, I need access to a vehicle. During my placement, I was still able to complete my program without owning a car, thanks to Peg City!
Anything else you’d like to mention?
Sara: Consider all the experiences you miss out on by paying for a car your whole life! $8,000 a year is a lot of vacation time. [once again, this interview was held before all travel was #cancelled]
Josh: While they go fast, driving a car is not much quicker when you structure your life around living further away and driving everywhere. I frequently ride my bike past hundreds of cars stuck in rush-hour traffic.
For us, driving makes sense for some things, sometimes.
Thank you for reading. We realize we have been holding out on the lamas. So here are a few more babies and llamas!
Are you curious about how carsharing can work for your family? Shoot us your questions on Facebook, Instagram, or send us an email at [email protected]. You just might see your question featured in the next Q&A feature!