Both new and used car prices have skyrocketed in the midst of global supply chain issues. In the third quarter of 2021, the average advertised price for a used vehicle was nearly $26,000 — a 24% jump from the previous year. If that doesn’t fit your budget, there are plenty of alternatives to owning a car in Los Angeles. Here are six options to help you navigate the city without a huge auto loan.
Use public transportation
Downtown Los Angeles and areas nearby are fairly easy to navigate with public transportation, serving as a much cheaper alternative to buying a car. There are several methods to choose from:
- Metro rail: The subway can get you where you need to go as early as 5 a.m. and often past midnight. There are also light rail lines to connect you across Los Angeles county.
- Buses: There are three sets of bus lines to help you travel around L.A. — local, rapid, and commuter buses.
- Shuttles: You can catch a free shuttle to LAX airport from multiple locations throughout the city.
Rent an electric scooter
There are plenty of electric scooter rental companies across the country. This used to be a common alternative to buying a car in Los Angeles until COVID-19 hit. Scooter rental availability in LA went from 37,000 to just 700 in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease. But these programs are back on the table as the city realizes it needs more affordable transportation options. You might not find a ton of availability just yet, but e-scooters should be making a comeback soon.
Try a rideshare service
Ridesharing may not be the cheapest option out there, but it can be worth it when you’re in a time crunch. There are several ridesharing apps available in Los Angeles and fares can be much more affordable if you split with a friend. Otherwise, watch out for surge charges during rush hour or near popular event venues. There’s always a balance to find between convenience and budget, which is especially true when it comes to taking a rideshare to your next destination.
Walk to your destination
You may not be able to walk everywhere you need to go, but there are definitely some tasks that can be done on foot. Walking helps you get to know your local area better, from corner markets to small restaurants. You may soon become a regular at your favorite establishments by staying local rather than hopping in a car to another neighborhood. Plus, walking is an easy exercise that keeps your body healthy and your mind in good spirits.
Rent a car
You can also rent a car instead of buying. This obviously isn’t a solution to your daily commute, but it can serve as an affordable way to still use a car, but only when you need it. Perhaps you want to take a weekend getaway or need an Ikea shopping trip (with plenty of trunk space). Even spending $100 on a rental car for a couple days each month is much cheaper than the average monthly auto loan payment of nearly $600 for a new car.