Shifting Modes: Car ownership to transit, rideshare, and micromobility

Karan Talati
3 min readJul 22, 2019


I moved to Los Angeles in 2013. For the first few years, I lived how many yuppy Los Angeles transplants live: I was enamored by living in a beach town and driving for everything I needed to do. Hermosa Beach didn’t really allow for much else. I drove to and from work, I drove for social things unless I was planning on drinking, in which case I took Uber.

Photo by Adrian Schwarz on Unsplash

2016 brought many changes. Tired of beach life and hungry for more cultural diversity, I moved to downtown LA. I switched jobs. I moved in with my fiancée. Oh — and I stopped driving. This started by accident at first, though.

In August 2016, I got a flat tire while I was on my way home from work. I called roadside assistance, and they patched my tire. The next morning, the tire had visible deflated, and I was late to work. This was a new job, so I didn’t want to be late. I decided to that train thing. On the first day, I Ubered to the train station and took the Metro Expo Line for the first time. After a long day of work, I didn’t have time to fix my tire, so I kept up the Uber-to-train routine for the rest of the week.

Through a combination of laziness in not wanting to maintain a car, optimism for LA’s developing urbanization and transit, and a desire to do my part in improving the environment, I’m now 3 years into being carless in a city where many people believe a car is required for survival.

I wanted to believe that I was spending less money now than I had when I owned a car. Taking Uber/Lyft, public transit, and more recently, scooters around can surely add up; and I have been keeping my fingers crossed that I was saving money and not spending more.

After 3 years, I finally got time and motivation to have a look. I exported my transaction data from Mint, fired up a Jupyter notebook, and used Python pandas to run the analysis.

Work and Results

Jupyter notebook analysis using data from Mint


As you can see, car ownership results in some outlier expenses that can be really impactful. I was happy to see that I am spending less money on transportation than before. Given that I am spending less money and traveling around LA more than I had when I first moved here, I’m happy about the positive effect using transit and rideshare has had on my wallet and planet.

If you have done a similar analysis on your transportation spend and impact, I’d love to see it! Also, if you have any ideas on how to improve this analysis, please let me know!

Photo by Corey Agopian on Unsplash



Karan Talati

Building the future of manufacturing at @firstresonance.