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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

jtown,man Mar 4, 2018 9:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8107188)
Show me the evidence that dropping the fare a quarter dollar would make a dent in transit ridership.

I never said a quarter. I'm talking about massively dropping the fare for a year or so, so lets say a monthly pass goes from $110 to $60 dollars. And advertise the hell out of it.

Would it cost money? Absolutely. But public transport is worth it, IMO. Also, once, and if this happens, ridership raises a lot you can start raising fares incrementally from the new, lower base fare while still keeping riders as the monthly pass is still a bargain.

I am going back to school this summer. Our city does this incredible deal where my fare for a monthly pass is pretty much 80-85% off regular fare. I could still buy a parking pass for school(for when the weather sucks) and still save cash on gas by taking the train/bus ever so often. It literally is making it a hard choice for me *not* to take public transport.

jtown,man Mar 4, 2018 9:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8107233)
Compete with what?
Private cars which probably cost city commuters $15 and suburban commuters $30 a day to to get to work and back?

Uber pool?
Despite all the press, the CTA is probably happy as a clam about Uber pool. Right now it takes congestion pressure, that they can ill afford to address, off of their backs. And they know that it won't last long. They're heavily subsidized by private investment while transit is subsidized by the taxpayer.

People don't avoid transit because it is too expensive.

If they already have a car, price does matter.

PKDickman Mar 4, 2018 9:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8107422)
Yes, the efficiency of Uber Pool is terrible. You're paying a driver to cart around only 2-3 people at a time (instead of 80) on meandering, ever-changing routes across the city.

It can work, but not at transit-like prices. Uber is betting it can crush Lyft somehow, and then eventually raise fares using its newfound monopoly and loyal customer base.

The thing is, we don't know what percentage of Uber Pool rides are diverted from driving personal vehicles vs taking transit. People that have a car tend to use it unless they're headed to somewhere parking is very difficult or expensive (basically downtown, Wicker, Lakeview). People that take transit might be looking for an alternative that gets them there quicker and more comfortably. My guess is that the answer is a little more complex... I imagine lots of folks feel comfortable NOT owning a car precisely because Uber/Lyft is an option. On the other hand, there's also lots of people that purchased cars to become Uber/Lyft drivers, so it's hard to say.

Mode of transportation is definitely a complex mix and Uber/Lyft is part of it.
By and large their normal product competes with taxis.
Their pool products, I don't see as competition with transit, but the reinstatement of a mode of transportation that has crashed with the Millennials, car pooling. Although we managed it back when you had to stick your finger in a hole and twirl. It seems to me, with smartphones in everybody's hands you could figure out a way to do it without corporate sponsorship.

If the Uber pools pan out and they carry at least 3 people per trip it should create a net decline in VMT.

In any event, no one is taking them because the CTA is too expensive.

PKDickman Mar 4, 2018 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8107459)
If they already have a car, price does matter.

Nonsense.
People opt out of transit for three reasons. Convenience, comfort and time.
Those reasons haven't changed since the horse and buggy days.

jtown,man Mar 4, 2018 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8107508)
Nonsense.
People opt out of transit for three reasons. Convenience, comfort and time.
Those reasons haven't changed since the horse and buggy days.

Huh? A car ss going to better than a horse, any day. So comparing a subway/horse vs subway/car is rather silly.

My point is it is hard to compete against the car. If you own one, it is quite hard to convince that person to take public transport. Rarely will public transport be more comfortable than your own car. Also rare is convenience and time savings.

So my point isn't that public transport is *too* expensive, rather if we made it even cheaper its appeal would be widen by a large margin.

PKDickman Mar 4, 2018 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8107515)
Huh? A car ss going to better than a horse, any day. So comparing a subway/horse vs subway/car is rather silly.

My point is it is hard to compete against the car. If you own one, it is quite hard to convince that person to take public transport. Rarely will public transport be more comfortable than your own car. Also rare is convenience and time savings.

So my point isn't that public transport is *too* expensive, rather if we made it even cheaper its appeal would be widen by a large margin.

That's called a going out of business sale.

Even if you're driving a beater, with only minimum insurance, changing your own oil, and getting free parking, the cost of a monthly pass is still a wash.

You can make Brussels sprouts as cheap as you want, but your not gonna sell any more of 'em.

jtown,man Mar 5, 2018 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8107532)
That's called a going out of business sale.

Even if you're driving a beater, with only minimum insurance, changing your own oil, and getting free parking, the cost of a monthly pass is still a wash.

You can make Brussels sprouts as cheap as you want, but your not gonna sell any more of 'em.

I don't think you are getting what I am saying. Someone like me, who has a decent car, how to get me to ride public transport?

Clean, safe, reliable and really cheap would get me to take public transit while I still own a car.

Eightball Mar 5, 2018 1:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8107128)
Why do so many people always jump to PUNISH people with taxes? How about we make our transit better. We reduce fares. Compete.

I didn't read the whole thread (and I'm a lib) but couldn't agree more. This annoys me so much about transit advocates. I think they just twist themselves in knots bc they are so afraid about being labeled anti labor that they have no problem with WMATA having average of 124k total compensation per year despite numerous employees engaging in fraud, theft, dereliction of duty which has led to deaths etc. Instead of the stick, use the carrot. Make transit so good that it is a preferred option rather than forcing other people to change their behavior with taxes etc. People have spoken with their feet and Uber/Lyft are extremely popular. For obvious reasons. Transit in the US - even in the biggest metros - is pretty much a joke. We need to import European or Asian companies to fix this shit or do drastic changes it is just terrible rn and gets worse every year.

People don't want to spend more on transit bc we have the worst efficacy per dollar spent in the whole world. See for example the recent NYT article on MTA having 7x the highest construction costs in the world, WMATA constantly cutting service and raising fares, BART is a hot mess etc

PKDickman Mar 5, 2018 1:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8107647)
I don't think you are getting what I am saying. Someone like me, who has a decent car, how to get me to ride public transport?

Clean, safe, reliable and really cheap would get me to take public transit while I still own a car.

I don't think your getting what I am saying.
The CTA's problem isn't low demand. The CTA's problem is that the riders aren't paying the cost of their ride.

This cost isn't because of trade unions or outdated equipment, This is because the fare is is artificially kept low and because they have to give discounts to seniors and students and mostly because they sell you a transfer for 25 cents.

But your notion is that they should charge even less. In the hope of encouraging even more people to pay an even smaller percentage of the cost of transporting them.

When you sell things below their actual cost, you can't make it up with volume.

They'll drive you across town for $3.00. How cheap does it have to get.

10023 Mar 5, 2018 8:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8107647)
I don't think you are getting what I am saying. Someone like me, who has a decent car, how to get me to ride public transport?

Clean, safe, reliable and really cheap would get me to take public transit while I still own a car.

My making parking less available and more expensive.

Or if traffic is so bad that the train is invariably faster, even if it’s less comfortable. That’s why transit ridership is so high in places like NYC or London... I could take the tube to work for £2.40 ($3.36) or an Uber for £8 ($11.20), but it’s not the cost that dissuades me from the latter, it’s the fact that it takes twice as long during rush hour. Chicago doesn’t really have that constraint, at least not to the same extent.

When I go back to Chicago, however, I always think they need to raise fares and plow that money into the system. At least train fares - bus fares are probably too high, and too close to the price of the train when they should be meaningfully cheaper.

“Clean, safe, reliable and really cheap” isn’t possible. The cheaper you make it, the less clean, safe and reliable it becomes.

Also, what they seem to do a good job of here but not in America is keeping the homeless and mentally ill off of public transit. Occasionally one will see buskers or people asking for money on the tube, but I’ve never seen a homeless person pissing themself like I have in Chicago. That keeps a LOT of potential paying customers off of transit.

emathias Mar 5, 2018 3:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10023 (Post 8108006)
...
Or if traffic is so bad that the train is invariably faster, even if it’s less comfortable. That’s why transit ridership is so high in places like NYC or London... I could take the tube to work for £2.40 ($3.36) or an Uber for £8 ($11.20), but it’s not the cost that dissuades me from the latter, it’s the fact that it takes twice as long during rush hour. Chicago doesn’t really have that constraint, at least not to the same extent.
...

Definitely not to the same extent, but there are definitely trips between the Loop and Lakeview/Uptown/Lincoln Square/Ravenswood/Albany Park/Logan Square/West Town where the Brown or Red or Blue Line are faster than cars during rush hour. When I lived near Montrose and Damen, the price differential was nearly $15 (between the 'L' and a taxi) and on top of that the train took about 35 minutes from near the Sears Tower, including all walking and waiting, but a taxi would usually take 45 minutes, and sometimes longer. So saving $15 *and* 10+ minutes made taking the train a no-brainer. There are other trips where that is the case, such as the California or Logan Square stops on the Blue Line from my office, which is next to Clark/Lake stop so a train trip to, say, Longman and Eagle or Revolution Brewery or the Logan Theatre takes about 18 minutes, including walking and waiting, or about 25 minutes and occasionally more to take a car.

So, yeah, there are large swaths of Chicago where driving, even at rush hour, is faster than transit, but there are key trips where both origin and destination are near 'L' stations where the train is both cheaper and faster than cars. If/when Chicago builds additional lines, there would hopefully be additional new trips where that could be true - and, really, carefully planning should have as a priority that it *should* be true.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10023 (Post 8108006)
...
Also, what they seem to do a good job of here but not in America is keeping the homeless and mentally ill off of public transit. Occasionally one will see buskers or people asking for money on the tube, but I’ve never seen a homeless person pissing themself like I have in Chicago. That keeps a LOT of potential paying customers off of transit.
...

This is not really a public transit role to police that. The reason there is less of that in European countries, for the most part, is due to their more effective social safety nets that deal with homelessness, chronic addiction, and mental illness. America could be better at those things, too, it certainly has the money, but it lacks the societal willpower to get it done because Americans have become a heartless (how can people just watch fellow humans living without shelter?), selfish (how can people think that the 1-2% tax that would end homelessness is too much to give up for the sake of their fellow citizens?), unthinking people (how can they ignore the enormous number of studies showing that addressing homelessness and the issues that feed it is cheaper than paying for the extra police, courts, and health care?).

ardecila Mar 5, 2018 8:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8107712)
When you sell things below their actual cost, you can't make it up with volume.

Bingo.

By law CTA is mandated to cover 50% of its expenses through farebox revenue and other revenue sources like advertising, rental income from retailers, etc. They can't just cut fares and count on a higher subsidy to fill the gap. Dropping fares means cutting service, period. Even if lower fares caused higher ridership so there was no net effect on revenue, CTA would have to squeeze more people into the same number of buses and trains since the cost of a driver-hour, and thus CTA's operating cost, remains unchanged. This would lead to poorer comfort, longer boarding times and ultimately less reliable service.

And, as PKDickman keeps pointing out, cost isn't a factor here because CTA is already the cheapest option for virtually every trip you could make in Chicago (except walking/biking).

Your thesis that a temporary discount would lead to higher ridership has basically already been tested. Thousands of commuters switch to transit when gas prices rise periodically (which is effectively the same as a transit discount). Usually most of these commuters switch back once gas prices decline. Promotions are good to goose sales numbers or to introduce people to a new or drastically improved product, but CTA service doesn't fit the bill. It is effectively the same as it's always been, even despite new features like Ventra, Tracker, and renovated stations. We have not added a new rail line in 25 years and the bus system is the same 100-year-old streetcar grid.

jtown,man Mar 6, 2018 3:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8107712)
I don't think your getting what I am saying.
The CTA's problem isn't low demand. The CTA's problem is that the riders aren't paying the cost of their ride.

This cost isn't because of trade unions or outdated equipment, This is because the fare is is artificially kept low and because they have to give discounts to seniors and students and mostly because they sell you a transfer for 25 cents.

But your notion is that they should charge even less. In the hope of encouraging even more people to pay an even smaller percentage of the cost of transporting them.

When you sell things below their actual cost, you can't make it up with volume.

They'll drive you across town for $3.00. How cheap does it have to get.

Well, its 5.00 for a two trips. So if I already have a car, in say Jefferson Park, but I like to drive downtown to my job, the 5.00 may just be enough to keep me from riding every day. $100 a month isn't expensive, but when you add in my car expenses(which I wont be ditching) it adds up. Now, if that fare cost me about half, 2.50 a day, that's a lot less than the gas I would be using to get downtown and back. Add in parking etc(if my work doesn't pay for this), it will look a lot better walking, waiting for a train in the cold, dealing with the public and then doing it all over again on the way home vs getting in my car, and driving in my heated ride.

I say this not because I think im some economist or transport expert, far from it. But this is my current situation in my city and the incredibly cheap transport has nudged me to take public transport which is slower and will get me out in the elements much longer than if I just drove to my destination.

I am not getting rid of my car, but with public transport so cheap, it has kept me from adding mileage to my car and filling up the tank.

PKDickman Mar 6, 2018 4:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8109015)
Well, its 5.00 for a two trips. So if I already have a car, in say Jefferson Park, but I like to drive downtown to my job, the 5.00 may just be enough to keep me from riding every day. $100 a month isn't expensive, but when you add in my car expenses(which I wont be ditching) it adds up. Now, if that fare cost me about half, 2.50 a day, that's a lot less than the gas I would be using to get downtown and back. Add in parking etc(if my work doesn't pay for this), it will look a lot better walking, waiting for a train in the cold, dealing with the public and then doing it all over again on the way home vs getting in my car, and driving in my heated ride.

I say this not because I think im some economist or transport expert, far from it. But this is my current situation in my city and the incredibly cheap transport has nudged me to take public transport which is slower and will get me out in the elements much longer than if I just drove to my destination.

I am not getting rid of my car, but with public transport so cheap, it has kept me from adding mileage to my car and filling up the tank.

The problem is, that you are seriously underestimating the cost of operating a vehicle.
You are viewing all costs other than gas as sunk costs. This isn't true. Every mile you drive wears your tires, increases depreciation, increases rate of oil changes, etc.

Your argument, basically, is that if McDonald's wants to win the breakfast wars, they need to charge less than it costs you to buy an egg.
Any business man will tell you, that's not competing, that's surfing the event horizon of a black hole.

The current standard mileage deduction is 54 1/2 cents a mile. This is not arrived at willy nilly. It is a conservative estimate of costs.
So, to break even with your $2.50 fare your commute has to be more than 4.6 miles. Add in even $1 for parking, and it's 3.5 miles. Pick up a nail in your tire, have a fender bender, get a parking ticket and all bets are off.

Even from the standpoint of thermodynamics, the idea the they should be able to compete solely on their energy efficiency is unsustainable.

In a perfect world, transit would still cost riders a nickel.
But it costs more than that to do it. If you are not going to charge the riders, there is no option except to payfor it through taxation.

IrishIllini Mar 6, 2018 4:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8109429)
The problem is, that you are seriously underestimating the cost of operating a vehicle.
You are viewing all costs other than gas as sunk costs. This isn't true. Every mile you drive wears your tires, increases depreciation, increases rate of oil changes, etc.

Your argument, basically, is that if McDonald's wants to win the breakfast wars, they need to charge less than it costs you to buy an egg.
Any business man will tell you, that's not competing, that's surfing the event horizon of a black hole.

The current standard mileage deduction is 54 1/2 cents a mile. This is not arrived at willy nilly. It is a conservative estimate of costs.
So, to break even with your $2.50 fare your commute has to be more than 4.6 miles. Add in even $1 for parking, and it's 3.5 miles. Pick up a nail in your tire, have a fender bender, get a parking ticket and all bets are off.

Even from the standpoint of thermodynamics, the idea the they should be able to compete solely on their energy efficiency is unsustainable.

In a perfect world, transit would still cost riders a nickel.
But it costs more than that to do it. If you are not going to charge the riders, there is no option except to payfor it through taxation.

People often underestimate the true cost of owning a car. Gas, insurance, maintenance, city/parking permits, parking, license plate renewals, etc. all add up. The payment alone can easily hit $300+ per month for a not-so-flashy car. Additionally, People think that roads are cheap to build, operate, and maintain and that transit is expensive to build, operate, and maintain.

emathias Mar 6, 2018 7:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrishIllini (Post 8109471)
People often underestimate the true cost of owning a car. Gas, insurance, maintenance, city/parking permits, parking, license plate renewals, etc. all add up. The payment alone can easily hit $300+ per month for a not-so-flashy car. Additionally, People think that roads are cheap to build, operate, and maintain and that transit is expensive to build, operate, and maintain.

Definitely.

Even a cheap used car that's reasonably reliable has costs.

About 10 years ago a friend of mine bought a used Infinity sedan (I30). He paid $6,000, so taxes were about $420. IIRC registration was $101. So that's $521 lost. If he sold it himself today he could probably get around $2,000, so $4,000 in depreciation over 10 years. He doesn't drive it that much, maybe 6,000 miles per year. His insurance is about $1,000 per year.

Costs over 10 years:

Depreciation: $4,000
Registration: 10 * $101 = $1,010
Sales tax: $420
Insurance: 10 * $1,000 = $1,000
Fuel (30mpg mixed @ 6,000 miles per year): ((6,000 * 10) / 30) * $3.00/gal = $6,000
Oil changes (annual, synthetic oil): 10 * $50 = $500
Repairs: It's been a very reliable car for him, but I think he's spent about $1,200 in repairs
Tires: $300
Street parking around town: about $20 per month
Misc maintenance: $20 month

Total cost of ownership over 10 years: $19,230, or $160.25 per month averaged over 10 years. Which is actually not that bad, but is still well above the cost of a monthly CTA pass.

I think that is reasonably about the cheapest ownership costs anyone could expect for basic car ownership. Start driving more, having a newer vehicle, financing the vehicle and requiring more than the legal minimum insurance and the prices go up quickly from there. A lot of people spend up to $20,000 on a car, do trade-ins, and finance most of the cost.

Say you got a 3-year-old Camry for $17,000 and keep it five years and finance $12,000 of it for five years, use it for commuting a total of 30 miles a day (15 miles each way), and about the same amount of other driving for 1200 per month.

Depreciation (price paid - ending trade-in-value): $17,000 - $4,500 = $12,500
Registration: $101 * 5 = $505
Sales tax: $1,190
Insurance: $100/month * 12 * 5 = $6,000
Fuel (30mpg, $3/gal): about $100 per month = 12 * 5 * $3/gal = $6,000
Oil changes (every 6k miles): 6 * $50 = $300
Repairs: $1,200
Tires: $300
Parking: about $50 / month = $3,000
Misc maintenance: $20 / month = $1,200
Interest on payments, financing $12,000 over 5 years @ 4%: $1,260

That comes to almost $560/month. Not all of that is cashflow, but includes $221 in payments, $100 in insurance, $120 in gas, $50 in parking, so "normal" monthly fixed expenses if they pay insurance monthly are about $491 in cash outlays, monthly. Probably a lot of people have to budget that much, plus save for repairs and oil changes and the difference between the trade-in value and the downpayment they'll need when they get a new-to-them car at the end of the cycle. And if you want a nicer car, costs just go up from there. And if you want a *new* car, all bets are off.

New Audi A4, mid-range options, keep it for 8 years: $42,000 to buy otherwise same as above except has to garage it at home in the city @ $120/month in addition to non-home parking, takes very good care of it and has a $6,500 trade-in value at the end. Finances 80%.

Depreciation: $35,500
Interest: $3,528
Registration: $808
Sales tax: $2,940
Insurance: $12,600 ($150 per month while financed, $100 per month after)
Fuel (25mpg, $3/gal): $13,824
Oil changes (free first 3 years, every 6k miles): $600
Repairs: (for last 5 years) $4,500
Tires (replace twice @$200 per tire): $1,600
Parking: $50 + $120 monthly = $16,320
Misc maintenance ($50/month in last 5 years): $3,000

So, a total cost over 8 years of $95,220, or just under $1,000 per month, on average. And in the first five years, monthly cash outlay itself will be about $1,100 per month. Later in the ownership period, monthly cash outlay will drop dramatically, but maintenance will be higher. This is the kind of car I'd want if I had a car. But the numbers are why I won't do it, lol.

Busy Bee Mar 6, 2018 9:23 PM

Yep. Owning a car is a cash siphon. My car was paid off some time ago but I spend about $950/year to insure it + I just had my starter fizzle out all of a sudden and needed a tune-up and oil change and that cost be about $475 + registration sticker of $110 or so + a new tire every year or so at let's say $50-75 (I get mine second hand) + maybe another $100 if I'm unfortunate enough to get parking tickets/speeding ticket/seatbelt violation + the cost of a years worth of gasoline.

Before you know it you're talking real money;)

I'm also also reminded how unfortunate it is that many (but less than used to be) American teenagers waste their money on cars when they could be travelling and gaining experiential knowledge like our counterparts in Europe and Asia.

jtown,man Mar 6, 2018 9:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKDickman (Post 8109429)
The problem is, that you are seriously underestimating the cost of operating a vehicle.
You are viewing all costs other than gas as sunk costs. This isn't true. Every mile you drive wears your tires, increases depreciation, increases rate of oil changes, etc.

Your argument, basically, is that if McDonald's wants to win the breakfast wars, they need to charge less than it costs you to buy an egg.
Any business man will tell you, that's not competing, that's surfing the event horizon of a black hole.

The current standard mileage deduction is 54 1/2 cents a mile. This is not arrived at willy nilly. It is a conservative estimate of costs.
So, to break even with your $2.50 fare your commute has to be more than 4.6 miles. Add in even $1 for parking, and it's 3.5 miles. Pick up a nail in your tire, have a fender bender, get a parking ticket and all bets are off.

Even from the standpoint of thermodynamics, the idea the they should be able to compete solely on their energy efficiency is unsustainable.

In a perfect world, transit would still cost riders a nickel.
But it costs more than that to do it. If you are not going to charge the riders, there is no option except to payfor it through taxation.

My whole point is:

I am talking about someone who has a car. A car they will not sale. A car they will keep. But....they will consider public transport to say to get work.

Vlajos Mar 6, 2018 10:01 PM

Where I live in the City driving takes the same/longer than the train. And the cost of parking downtown is a complete waste of money. $105/month unlimited CTA pass is a no brainer. Relax, sip coffee and read.

IrishIllini Mar 6, 2018 11:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8109833)
Definitely.

Even a cheap used car that's reasonably reliable has costs.

About 10 years ago a friend of mine bought a used Infinity sedan (I30). He paid $6,000, so taxes were about $420. IIRC registration was $101. So that's $521 lost. If he sold it himself today he could probably get around $2,000, so $4,000 in depreciation over 10 years. He doesn't drive it that much, maybe 6,000 miles per year. His insurance is about $1,000 per year.

Costs over 10 years:

Depreciation: $4,000
Registration: 10 * $101 = $1,010
Sales tax: $420
Insurance: 10 * $1,000 = $1,000
Fuel (30mpg mixed @ 6,000 miles per year): ((6,000 * 10) / 30) * $3.00/gal = $6,000
Oil changes (annual, synthetic oil): 10 * $50 = $500
Repairs: It's been a very reliable car for him, but I think he's spent about $1,200 in repairs
Tires: $300
Street parking around town: about $20 per month
Misc maintenance: $20 month

Total cost of ownership over 10 years: $19,230, or $160.25 per month averaged over 10 years. Which is actually not that bad, but is still well above the cost of a monthly CTA pass.

I think that is reasonably about the cheapest ownership costs anyone could expect for basic car ownership. Start driving more, having a newer vehicle, financing the vehicle and requiring more than the legal minimum insurance and the prices go up quickly from there. A lot of people spend up to $20,000 on a car, do trade-ins, and finance most of the cost.

Say you got a 3-year-old Camry for $17,000 and keep it five years and finance $12,000 of it for five years, use it for commuting a total of 30 miles a day (15 miles each way), and about the same amount of other driving for 1200 per month.

Depreciation (price paid - ending trade-in-value): $17,000 - $4,500 = $12,500
Registration: $101 * 5 = $505
Sales tax: $1,190
Insurance: $100/month * 12 * 5 = $6,000
Fuel (30mpg, $3/gal): about $100 per month = 12 * 5 * $3/gal = $6,000
Oil changes (every 6k miles): 6 * $50 = $300
Repairs: $1,200
Tires: $300
Parking: about $50 / month = $3,000
Misc maintenance: $20 / month = $1,200
Interest on payments, financing $12,000 over 5 years @ 4%: $1,260

That comes to almost $560/month. Not all of that is cashflow, but includes $221 in payments, $100 in insurance, $120 in gas, $50 in parking, so "normal" monthly fixed expenses if they pay insurance monthly are about $491 in cash outlays, monthly. Probably a lot of people have to budget that much, plus save for repairs and oil changes and the difference between the trade-in value and the downpayment they'll need when they get a new-to-them car at the end of the cycle. And if you want a nicer car, costs just go up from there. And if you want a *new* car, all bets are off.

New Audi A4, mid-range options, keep it for 8 years: $42,000 to buy otherwise same as above except has to garage it at home in the city @ $120/month in addition to non-home parking, takes very good care of it and has a $6,500 trade-in value at the end. Finances 80%.

Depreciation: $35,500
Interest: $3,528
Registration: $808
Sales tax: $2,940
Insurance: $12,600 ($150 per month while financed, $100 per month after)
Fuel (25mpg, $3/gal): $13,824
Oil changes (free first 3 years, every 6k miles): $600
Repairs: (for last 5 years) $4,500
Tires (replace twice @$200 per tire): $1,600
Parking: $50 + $120 monthly = $16,320
Misc maintenance ($50/month in last 5 years): $3,000

So, a total cost over 8 years of $95,220, or just under $1,000 per month, on average. And in the first five years, monthly cash outlay itself will be about $1,100 per month. Later in the ownership period, monthly cash outlay will drop dramatically, but maintenance will be higher. This is the kind of car I'd want if I had a car. But the numbers are why I won't do it, lol.

If your friend were driving closer to the US average (~15,000 miles per year), they'd have higher operating costs and probably require either a newer car or be prepared for more maintenance issues.


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