22% of households in Manhattan don’t own a car, according to research published by NYC Economic Development Corporation in 2018. There’s no other place in New York where the car ownership rate is so low.
Why don’t Manhattanites buy a car?
Or, we may reformulate the question: “Why would one buy a car here”? It’s pretty pointless and inconvenient, to say nothing of the expenses.
Only 8% Manhattanites drive to work, and for a reason. A car has every chance of being stuck in a traffic jam, while the public transit system will typically take you where you want much faster.
Parking is a huge problem. Renting a spot typically costs from $200 to $1,000 monthly. In case you purchase an apartment with its own spot, expect a $60,000-$150,000 rise in the final price tag. There’re several apps making parking in the NYC easier, though (SpotHero, BestParking, ParkWhiz, and Spot Pog, for instance).
Trying to get to a gas station and waking up early before the street cleaning is no fun, too.
What cars do Manhattanites own (if they do)?
For some people, owning a car does make sense. In the northern portions of Manhattan, it’s more necessary and appropriate.
The list of models most popular in the area includes Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-Series, Toyota Rav 4, RAM RAM, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. You may get to know more about these makes and models in the list of car brands A-Z.
A guide to living without a car in Manhattan
Manhattanites often rely on delivery, which is offered for many products and services, from restaurants and grocery stores to laundromats and dry cleaners.
There’s a store with a limited range of food products almost on every block in Manhattan, while a larger grocery store can be found on every few blocks. If you need a coffee shop, a restaurant, or a bar, you typically can find one within a few blocks, too.
What about the public transit system?
Most likely, you have a subway stop in less than a 10-minute walk away. The MTA is known for having more stations than any other metro system globally. Its tracks are almost twice as long as those of any other metro system in North America. The number of people using the MTA every day is three times as much as the ridership in Chicago, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, and Philadelphia combined.
For commuter transit, you may rely on the train, express bus or the “Chinatown Buses.”
The NYC Ferry, which began operation in the spring of 2017, has six routes (as of March 2019) with two more to open in 2020 and 2021. By 2023, the NYC Ferry expects to have 11 million riders annually.
If you don’t mind traversing the city on two wheels but for some reason your bike is out of reach, Citibike can be a decent option. You pick up a bike at a station, take a ride (or several rides), then return your bike to any station.
In Manhattan’s tourist areas, you can take a pedicab. These can be used only for short drives with one or two passengers, though.
In some cases, cabs can be an appropriate option. Going to and from any of the airports with a suitcase is one of the situations when a car is essential. Some of the available choices include Uber or Dial7. Consider ridesharing services (VIA). And yet, at times, it’s nearly impossible to catch a cab. For instance, around 4 pm, during shift changes. The same happens in case of bad weather.
Also, you can lease a car. ZipCar can be convenient if you need a vehicle for less than four hours, while Enterprise is more often used for day trips. Another option is Hertz on Demand.
Have we mentioned walking? Much of Manhattan is walkable.