The Top Reasons to Live Car-Free

I have decided a couple of years ago that owning a car is stoopid. So even though I live mid-town, I am now relying on TTC & rentals only. There are many reasons for my decision.

To summarize, living car-free is the first step to a care-free existence. For brevity, I'm listing here the top 7

  • 1. mandatory insurance, increasing without bounds due to 9/11, terrorist attacks and risk spreading in the industry
  • 2. traffic congestions making TTC far more attractive
  • 3. constant headaches with owning a car (though I owned a Toyota and didn't have any major problem with it, I'd rather drive than do oil changes)
  • 4. unlike a house, it's a depreciating asset - no value as an investment, on the contrary
  • 5. environmental concerns + encourages sedentary lifestyle
  • 6. planned to travel most of the year, making the car in my garage deadweight
  • 7. save time by doing something else when commuting (reading, listen to an mp3 book, etc.)

When I made my decision, Enterprise used to have deals at 9.99/day for the week-end. It changed since then to around 15, but it's still an awesome deal, considering that my platinum card covers the insurance. Before renting from Enterprise, I rented from almost every other rental company, taking advantage of all kinds of deals.

In my first year, while I was adjusting to not owning a car, I must've spent more than $10,000 on rentals (which, according to CAA, is the cost of car ownership in Canada - calculated before the major increase in the cost of gas). I will not describe my negative experiences with the others.

Why is Enterprise the best? I find it very strange that although Enterprise is the market leader, the others don't even try to compete in either price or quality of service, and yet they don't go out of business. I myself rent sometimes from Discount, (who are trying hard to play catch-up, but don't come even close,) merely because I don't like to keep all my eggs in the same basket.

Here are the reasons why Enterprise is still the best.

  • 1. Customer oriented - Their slogan is make a reasonable amount of money, but have the best customer satisfaction in the industry. How do they achieve it? Steady stream of good quality ppl - they recruit from Univs alongside IBM, Microsoft, etc. They train everybody, then promote fast. Every 2-3 rentals I get a call from centre asking me to rate my experience (how was it? will i rent again? how likely am i to recommend them?). It weighs more heavily in a promotion to have a high rate of customer satisfaction in your branch than to generate more money.
  • 2. "We'll pick you up" - and drop you off when you're done. Discount is trying to match this but they act like they've just given you a Royale with Cheese. This is important for me, as I really don't have a car to drive to their location.
  • 3. Price. Discount, as always, is trying to catch up but their deal is never quite as good, unless you are Jewish - this is what they told me (apparently that gives you a special discount, in which case you're better off with Discount). Their week-end promotion can usually be found at Note however that the car must be returned by 9am on Monday, whereas with Enterprise you return it at the time you picked it up.
  • 4. Car availability. It has never happened to have a rental cancelled with Enterprise, but it happened with others. Unlike others, Enterprise owns its own fleet, so this is never an issue. With Enterprise I also usually get free upgrades (the manager allows me to pay for an Echo for instance and drive a Malibu, but I usually take the Echo to save on gas; other times, I end up driving an SUV because all the economy/compact cars have all been rented; when that happens, I also get a half tank of gas free).
  • 5. Ease of booking. The week-end deal is right there on the website, you don't have to jump through any hoops to get it, just click that link. In terms of speed, power and simplicity I find their website the best ( Their phone number (1-800-RENTACAR) is the easiest to remember and it connects you to the branch closest to you based on your CID info (though it gets screwed up if you call from a cell phone). I can also call my branch directly (which is usually the way I call them). If you need more reasons to get rid of your car addiction, you might find more in Zip and Autoshare. They rent by the hour, though you might find that for the same price you can actually get a car from Enterprise for the entire day.

Sources / More info:
Cheap car carries high price for environment. impoverished - gatewaycanada The Bamboo Project Blog: Customer Service According to CJ from Enterprise Carfree Homepage - jakre Car-free Movimiento Carfree Information - bikeatwork Car Free Canada | Moving toward automobile free spaces in Canada - carfreecanada Participate & Email List - carfree day 2004 Toronto Car Free Day - New Mobility Week - Transport Canada - sierraclub Get a Car or Get a Life! Car-Free Thoughts, Events, Links - planetfriendly Carfree USA Blog: Carfree Life in Canada - cafreeusa TLC minutes - hwcn bikeToronto: Car Free Day celebration planned for Yonge Street ... - biketoronto World Carfree Network - worldcarfree Carfree Family - carfreefamily CarFree City, USA - carfreecity CarFree - yahoogroup carfree UK - carfreeuk Mathematicians Solve the Mystery of Traffic Jams - /. The Physics of Traffic : Empirical Freeway Boris Semenovitch Kerner TRAFFIC WAVES - more links - amasci A matter of Prior Art - traffic waves - SynthStuff Traffic wave - Wikipedia


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