I’m convinced that people only use public transit because they can’t afford a car. Unlike buses, a car gets you where you want to go, when you want to go and gets you there faster – unless you’re stuck in a traffic jam, find that there aren’t any parking spaces anywhere near your destination or you’ve spent half your day lining up to get gas after a shortage caused by a big rain storm.
Can you imagine a public transportation that would get you anywhere you want to go at any time of day and take no more time than using a car? Ridiculous – wouldn’t it cost too much?
Have you ever counted the number of cars parked on roads and driveways in your neighborhood? It got me wondering how much money is tied up in car ownership. I discovered that a small area like greater Victoria has about 255,300 licensed cars for a population of about 363,000. In 2020 the average cost of a new car in Canada was $41,000 and people buy a new car on average every 6.4 years.
If we multiply the number of cars by the cost of a new car we end up with a total of $10,467,300,000 (roughly 10.5 billion dollars) of investment before depreciation. Divide this number by 6.4 and we find that Victorians spend about 1.6 billion dollars a year on new vehicles (only about 2% of those are electric). If we add the average cost of insuring a car ($1,832/year x 255,300), that adds another $467,709,600 to the outlay. The average cost of gas for the year is $1968 (x 255,300 = 502,430,400) while maintenance averages about $796 (x 255,300 = 203,218,800) a year.
When you add up the total: 1,600,000,000 + 467,709,600 + 502,430,400 + 203,218,800 it equals $2,773,358,800 every year. And that’s just one small city.
Would we need our cars if greater Victoria had an extra $2.8 billion dollars every year to spend on public transit?