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Megan Quinn.
Megan Quinn.

Is using Uber for your transportation needs cheaper than owning a car?

That’s the question Megan Quinn, a former investment partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — and investor in Uber — aimed to answer in this Medium post.

The short answer is that Quinn saved a good chunk of money by selling her 2004 Toyota 4Runner and relying on uberX, Uber’s cheapest ride-hailing service.

You can see Quinn’s breakdown here. Her math shows that she spent $10,281 from August 2013 to August 2014 on the 4Runner when adding in expenses like parking, gas, and insurance.

uberxAfter moving to London for the next year, she relied on Uber and spent $4,655 for 12 months of transportation.

Quinn admits that there are “some significant caveats to my comparison,” including the fact that she was in different cities, had a different work schedule, could have used a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and did not factor in her public transportation costs for either amount.

“But if anything, I was traveling more miles in Europe and riding with Uber more frequently because it was dependable and familiar to me,” she noted.

Moreover, Quinn explained how she liked not having to deal with a vehicle — both from a cost and convenience perspective.

“Even when I commute down the peninsula, the combination of a train and Uber for last mile reach is vastly preferable to the hell that is the 101,” she wrote.

Some wondered whether Quinn factored in surge pricing, when Uber jacks up rates when demand is high.

Others thought Quinn’s conclusion may be only true for those living in high-density urban areas, versus in the suburbs.

Exact calculations aside, it’s clear that using a combination of a service like Uber or Lyft with public transportation is becoming a legitimate replacement for owning a car. Add on the rollout of cost-saving carpooling options like UberPool and Lyft Line, in addition to new features like “Smart Routes,” “Suggested Pickup Points,” and you start to see why people like Quinn are opting to go car-less.

“Uber has reached such high city density, geographic ubiquity and price diversity that it can truly be an economical replacement for car ownership for some people,” Quinn wrote.

This was my favorite response to Quinn’s post, though — Hunter Walk takes it a step further by suggesting that you not only replace your car with Uber, but also your apartment.

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