The City of Seattle is encouraging people to use public transit and other forms of non-automobile transportation by paying them not to use more than one car.
Twenty-two families each received $85 a week to park their second vehicles (odometers were checked at the start and end of the six-week program). They also were required to keep a travel diary.
The pilot program, called Way to Go, Seattle, was conceived by the mayor’s office as a way to show people that they can save money and make more environmentally friendly transportation choices by reducing their travel by car.
On average, the participants saved about $70 of their weekly $85 (roughly the cost of driving, maintaining and insuring an extra car). Some walked, rode the bus, biked, carpooled and used taxis to get where they needed to go.
After buying a bus pass, one family discovered that it didn’t need a second car and sold it. Others had a harder time adapting to a one-car existence. At the very least, most of the participants discovered that they didn’t need to drive so much.
“Even if they’re not quite ready to sell their second car, most of the families said they will continue to take the bus or ride bicycles and think about whether they need to drive where they need to go,” said project manager Jemae Pope.