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How to Get to Work Without a Car [6 Alternatives to Driving]

With an estimated 1.4 billion motor vehicles, we live in a car dominated world. However, for many reasons there are still plenty of people who have either never learned to drive or don’t have access to a car. In fact, I’m one of them! 

Commuting Options: Alternatives to Driving

Thankfully there are many possibilities for a car free commute that will help you to dodge the traffic and transform your way to work.  

From scooters to skateboarding, we’ll provide a comprehensive breakdown of options so you can choose what would work best for you. 

Cheap Transportation to Work

Many alternatives to driving are not only better for the planet, but they’ll also boost your pocket. If you do own a car, or if you are considering buying a new or second hand one, it may seem like good value but the ongoing costs of car ownership can soon add up

After the significant expense of the initial purchase, you’ve still got insurance, tax and fuel to add on. Even if you’ve opted for an electric vehicle, the charging costs still need to be considered. 

On top of that there is the task of finding somewhere safe, secure and strategic to park your vehicle which can not only be tricky, but also prohibitively expensive. According to research from the RAC Foundation, cars and vans are only actually used for 4% of the time (around an hour a day) and the rest of the time they are either parked at home (73%) or elsewhere, such as workplaces (23%). 

SOURCE: Pexels.com

How to Get Around without a Car [6 Ideas]

‘The car is king’ is now a commonplace phrase since the rise of the automobile in the 19th and 20th centuries but despite what car manufacturers would have you believe, its reign is coming to an end and getting around without a car is not only possible, but practical. 

We’ll look into 6 ideas getting to work without a car but they can all be combined and adapted to create infinite options. 

Walking 

Depending on the distance to your workplace and your fitness level, you could either walk the whole way or walk part of your commute alongside the below suggestions. Walking is a great way to build in movement to your day, especially as studies show that ‘work time spent sitting accounted for more than half of the total daily sitting time on a work day (54%)’. 

We explored the research, benefits and impacts of walking in comparison to one of our other alternatives, cycling, in this insightful post. Of course there are also downsides to walking which we’ve summarised in the below handy table. 

ProsCons
Beneficial for health & wellbeing
Completely free
Easily incorporate movement into working day
Not affected by traffic
Takes more time
Subject to weather conditions
Not an option for everyone, for example those with disabilities

Public Transport 

Depending on where you live public transport options can vary but if you’re in an area where you have accessible, affordable and reliable provision then it is a great way to get to work. 

Whether it’s a bus or a tram, travelling by public transport means you’re free to use the journey time for whatever you’d like to do – listening to a podcast, reading a book or even taking a nap (although be careful not to miss your stop!). 

Google Maps has a helpful public transport option which provides live timings and suggestions that you can even adapt to your preferred method. Other apps and platforms such as CityMapper are also designed to help you plan your route and even include a cost breakdown. 

Some places will offer smart cards or tickets that can be used across different providers and methods, often on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Make sure to check out the possibilities for where you’re based. 

ProsCons
Frees up travel time 
Lots of options
Good route planning tools available
Might still get stuck in traffic
Provision can vary depending on location

E-Scooters 

An innovative and nifty form of transport, e-scooters are enabling many people to easily get around. If your commute is relatively short you can scoot there and, as many models fold down to a compact size, they are also perfect for combining with other forms of transport to make longer journeys possible without a car. There may be rental options available where you live so you don’t even need to own an e-scooter to be able to give it a go. 

However, before you whizz to work it is important to check if and where it is legal to use an e-scooter as their use may be restricted. For example, there are limitations in the UK. 

ProsCons
Easy to carry
Lots of rental options available
Can integrate into journey with other forms of transport
Not affected by traffic
Not legal to use in many places
Source: Unsplash.com

Bicycle 

If you’re looking to switch to handlebars for your commute, the bicycle is a versatile choice. Cycling is not only a highly efficient form of transport but it is also an effective way to keep our body, mind and environment in tip top shape. 

So if you’re looking to focus on your fitness and our future then wheeling to work is one of the best alternatives to driving.  

ProsCons
Low cost
Beneficial for health & wellbeing
Good for the environment
Not affected by traffic
Subject to weather conditions
Potential lack of safe and accessible infrastructure
Need for secure storage at workplace

E-Bike

Keen to cycle but less keen on arriving at the office covered in sweat…? An e-bike may be the solution as it still has many of the abovementioned benefits but it makes cycling more accessible. They are particularly helpful if you have a longer or more hilly commute, or a health condition that makes using a standard bicycle too challenging. 

ProsCons
Still beneficial for health & wellbeing
Good for the environment
Accessible for those with disabilities or needing to ride longer distances
Not affected by traffic
Still subject to weather conditions
More expensive than standard bicycle
Need for secure storage at workplace

Folding Bike + Train

Perhaps you work in a different town or city, or your commute occasionally means you’re based further afield. In this situation, the folding bike and train combination is a winning one as it enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Having a folding bike makes it much easier to not only store on the train but also when you get to your workplace as you can easily pop it under your desk, or maybe in the staff room.  

We’ve compiled the top 8 best folding bike brands so you can learn more and pick the option that will work for you and your journey. 

ProsCons
Good for longer commutes
Easy to manage
Incorporates exercise
Not affected by traffic
Folding bikes can be more costly
Trains can be busy at peak times 
SOURCE: Unsplash.com

More Alternative Commuting Options

The world is your oyster when it comes to commuting options and in addition to the above, you could also run to work, rollerblade, use a moped or even a skateboard. I spent some time living in Switzerland and when it snowed I even saw people skiing to work! 

All of these alternatives to driving mean that it isn’t a barrier if you do not drive or have access to a car. Instead of your colleague’s car journey full of fumes, frustration and financial burdens, you can get to and from work feeling refreshed, fit and in touch with your surroundings. 

As I have never learned to drive it means I may have had to deal with a late bus every now and then, or had a few soggy cycle rides but I have always arrived and left work feeling invigorated and more connected to nature, people and my purpose. Try out these alternatives and I can guarantee you’ll experience your commute in a different, better and greener way.

Lucy Giuliano


TOP 5 FAVOURITES FOR COOL RIDES


1. 🪖Fend ONE Folding Helmet
A folding helmet that actually looks good.

2. 🧥Helly Hansen Hooded Rain Jacket
Stay dry in style.

3. 🧴Muc-Off Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit
Keep your bike feeling brand new.

4. 👖DUER-All Weather Jeans
Waterproof cycling jeans. Seriously.

5. 🎒Rapha Reflective Backpack
A beautiful backpack that you can't miss.




Lucy Giuliano

From Beijing to Burkina Faso and London Cycling Campaign to Love to Ride, Lucy has cycled in many different places and worked in the cycling sector. She is now based in Derby where she supports, encourages and empowers girls, women and non-binary people to cycle through her organisation, Spoke Out.

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