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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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I don't live in the Heights, so I can't say if using Zipcar and Uber will be enough. However, there is very little investment in trying them first before buying a car. Other than the annual membership fee for Zipcar, you can just pay as you need it.

So try that first. If you need a vehicle, then buy it, but that's committing to a lot more expense.

Posted on: 2015/3/10 16:53
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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We live in the Heights with a car with no dedicated parking. Our spend on tickets went down significantly after my husband moved to a project that didn't have a public transport option nearby-we now avoid the alternate side street parking issue entirely. Before someone or other would be running late to a meeting and it would fall to the bottom of the list before trying to hit the jitney. I'd recommend trying Zipcar/Uber unless you need a dedicated car for commuting purposes like we do (needing to go to job sites). Alternate side parking is not as tiresome as it was in NYC and Queens but it's a) definitely starting to get more difficult b) we had plans to get a new car this year but are holding out till we find a dedicated spot we can rent. Between the parallel parking dings and the time some drunk kids smashed the side windows of every car on the block, we don't feel like having a nice car in the Heights. If you are ever going to buy one, buy something you don't mind getting beat up.

Posted on: 2015/3/9 19:29
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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I'd recommend starting with the Uber/ Zipcar scenario first. If you find that you need a car more often than that, look into buying a car.

I say this because I used to live in the Heights relying 100% on public transportation and the occasional rental, and I did okay. Then, we bought a car. I love it but there are definite trade-offs, especially if you don't have a parking spot. These alone were problems that we've experienced during the past 3 years living in the Heights with a car.

1. Alternate side parking (Snow is your only reprieve.)
2. Getting towed (my neighbor was having construction done and the company did a POOR job of proper signage)
3. If you need a permit for your zone, you may still be ticketed and have to take a day off from work to fight it. (This happened to us TWICE! It's ridiculous that the police station can't handle this.)
4. Hit-and-run. Our car was parked right by our apartment and was hit on the driver's side some time during the evening. They hit the side of the car, but we didn't realize that they had loosened our front light. The next day we made an appointment to get an estimate on repairs, but got stopped by North Bergen police because our front light was out. We explained what had happened but they still gave us a ticket.
5. If you're a night owl, parking can get tough at night depending on where you live in the Heights. We're just off of Central Ave. and it can be a pain.

Posted on: 2015/3/9 15:37
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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For us, the most miserable part of owning a car is alternative side parking, having to move your car four times a week, in downtown, can take half an hour in the evenings.

It's probably not so bad in the heights, but you still have to remember to do it, and to do it even when you're sick in bed.

Posted on: 2015/3/9 13:52
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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For travel within JC, Uber is my go to option. It's just fast and very economical when compared to owning a car. And if you don't have to worry about drinking and driving, and finding a parking spot.

For shopping or road trips, if you know beforehand, an actual car rental is much cheaper than Zipcar, usually around $30 for 24 hrs. The Budget at 500 Kennedy (border of Heights and Union City) is walking distance.

Now that I have a garage I want to get a used car for those weekend/shopping trips. But I'll still use Uber for the 'out in the town' nights.

Posted on: 2015/3/9 13:51
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Don't forget this website. It tracks NJ Transit busses in real time. I have it saved on my phone. Checking on a computer allows you to follow the bus on the map. On my phone I see the time remaining for the bus to get to my stop. The time shown is a tad faster or slower depending on traffic, amount of actual stops before you, and traffic lights. It's great to keep an eye on the 87, 119, 123, and various other buses. It's been accurate a good 90% of the time for me.

http://mybusnow.njtransit.com/bustime/home.jsp

Posted on: 2015/3/9 0:38
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Thanks much, everyone, for your helpful suggestions! I'm leaning towards a combination of ZipCar and UBER memberships which should be much less expensive than owning a car. I hadn't considered that I would pay higher insurance for not having owned a car in 20+ years! Who knew...Quote:

jmiz wrote:
I really don't understand the purpose of the 87 if you're in the Heights. It's a slower and less reliable than the light rail. There are better options.

I take the PATH to WTC for work, either from JSQ or Hoboken. I usually take the 87 to JSQ in the morning because it comes first/is faster; and take it home from Hoboken at night, because JSQ is just too scuzzy to be in for any length of time. The 2nd Street light rail is a 10 minute walk, which is OK if it's nice out but I don't want to deal with it - especially the return trip up the 100 Steps! - if it's too cold/hot, or I'm tired. The 87 bus stops literally on my corner.

This all started Saturday when I went down (via Light Rail) to catch the artists' workshops at Victory Hall Drawing Rooms. Afterwards, I went to catch the 86 bus back from Grove Street, but since it only runs hourly I took PATH to Hoboken to catch the 87; all this came to a head there, after waiting for 40 minutes for the 87 (which is scheduled to run every 20 minutes on weekends).

I'm certainly game for other commuting options, and will probably be happier when I accept I need access to a car on a regular basis to get around JC if I want to enjoy what it has to offer, but is it just me? Am I expecting too much, or is it insane that the mass transit options there are suck so badly?

Again, everyone's suggestions and experience have been really helpful

Posted on: 2015/3/8 20:18
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Quote:
Can someone with zipcar experience post some rough prices?


occasional driving
our most popular plan. great for first-time car sharers
no monthly commitment
Drive as much or as little as you like, and pay as you go
low driving rates
(from $9.25/hr and $84/day)
$25 application fee
(non refundable)
$60 annual fee

monthly plan
the best choice for commitment-phobes
$6/month
Drive as much or as little as you like and pay month to month
low driving rates
(from $9.25/hr and $84/day)
$25 application fee
(non refundable)
no annual fee


extra value
perfect if you already know how often you'll need a car

$50/month
About 6 hours of pre-paid driving per month
10% discount
(from $8.33/hr and $75.60/day)
$25 application fee
(non refundable)
no annual fee


$75/month
About 9 hours of pre-paid driving per month
1 month rollover
10% discount
(from $8.33/hr and $75.60/day)
$25 application fee
(non refundable)
no annual fee


$125/month
About 15 hours of pre-paid driving per month
2 month rollover
10% discount
(from $8.33/hr and $75.60/day)
$25 application fee
(non refundable)
no annual fee


$250/month
About 32 hours of pre-paid driving per month
2 month rollover
15% discount
(from $7.86/hr and $71.40/day)
$25 application fee
(non refundable)
no annual fee


Included with every plan: gas, insurance, and up to 180 miles free per day.

Up to 180 miles included per day; additional miles from $0.45; varies by country; see details. Insurance is included; a damage fee of up to $1,000 may apply if you're involved in an accident with your Zipcar; see details.

Reservation rates, fees and taxes are subject to change. You may review your total estimated reservation cost before you confirm your reservation.

Source

Posted on: 2015/3/8 19:42
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Can someone with zipcar experience post some rough prices? We usually use budget for hertz to rent cars for the weekend, but zipcar sounds interesting and potentially could be cheaper?

So if I want to rent a car for both saturday and sunday (eg pick up early saturday like 9am, drop off late sunday night around 8 or 9pm), how much would that cost roughly?

Also, if I were to rent for saturday only, or sunday only (say, pick up early around 8, and drop off around 8pm or 9pm), how much would that cost?

Also, is there a yearly membership fee for zipcar?

TIA!

Posted on: 2015/3/8 19:33
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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I own my car so my monthly payments for gas and insurance are $160-$275 a month depending on how much gas I use and tolls I pay, The further I go the more I pay. Parking here in GV is about $75-$150 a month, perhaps the heights the same?

I don't pay for parking its part of the house. I think buying a good used car is the way to go, I don't depend on the car for work I am within walking distance to the Light Rail. I do use the car on weekends all the time, I never use the light rail or the PATH on weekends unless I have to.
I love being able to go anywhere I want without depending on New Jersey transit or PATH.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 17:22
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Quote:

brewster wrote:
You sound knowledgeable, is there a FAQ for deciphering the jitneys? Never had the need, but I thought they had these routes covered. At least I'm stuck driving behind them frequently!


That's one thing I haven't tried yet. However, I've been very tempted to jump on a jitney marked NEW YORK when I know the next NJ Transit bus is delayed/late/broken down/on fire/mysteriously disappears.

This map: http://www.jerseyjitneys.info/wp-cont ... ads/2014/07/jitneymap.png
..was put together as a college project I believe. Worth a look. It's the only one-stop for jitneys. Most of the jitney routes are just trial and error on the passenger's part.

edit: on second look, the link above has been updated! It includes more jitney routes than it had initially. Very Cool -- whoever published it is following through.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 17:09
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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I recently moved to the Heights and my partner and I don't own a car. On late nights, we have tended to use Uber ($5 from JSQ or $6-7 to various places downtown). We do have a Zipcar membership, which we've found to be worthwhile for longer trips, and especially if we are driving with a group of people, but kind of hard to stomach for short trips. The reason is that NJ requires you to pay a $5 fee whether you are taking out a Zipcar for one hour or 8 hours. That has really disincentivized us from using Zipcar for an hour or two.

I have occasionally taken a company car home for the night and found the parking experience can be pretty unpleasant depending on time of day. It's enough to seal the deal for me that I don't want a car. I'm actually quite all right with parking being a limited commodity.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 17:07
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Quote:

jmiz wrote:
Are you commuting to and from Hoboken? Or is Hoboken one of the transfer points for your commute?

There are so many Heights options. From the Heights to Hoboken/NYC, I have: biked, walked, taken the PATH to Hoboken and used the Light Rail, taken the PATH to JSQ and walked, taken the 119, the 123.

I really don't understand the purpose of the 87 if you're in the Heights. It's a slower and less reliable than the light rail. There are better options.


You sound knowledgeable, is there a FAQ for deciphering the jitneys? Never had the need, but I thought they had these routes covered. At least I'm stuck driving behind them frequently!

Posted on: 2015/3/8 16:59
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Are you commuting to and from Hoboken? Or is Hoboken one of the transfer points for your commute?

There are so many Heights options. From the Heights to Hoboken/NYC, I have: biked, walked, taken the PATH to Hoboken and used the Light Rail, taken the PATH to JSQ and walked, taken the 119, the 123.

I really don't understand the purpose of the 87 if you're in the Heights. It's a slower and less reliable than the light rail. There are better options.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 16:47
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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I'd would start out with a Zipcar membership and stick with it for at least a year. It's a pretty good deal when you consider that insurance is included. Owning a car in Hudson County is pretty punitive when you factor in insurance - even more so if you haven't been driving the past several years. You'll pay a much higher, punitive insurance premium if they can't find any record of your having been insured (they'll just assume a worst-case risk scenario for you). Some insurance companies will accept previous Zipcar membership as an insurance record. Also, you may want to look into asking an immediate family member, like a parent or sibling, who has a car if they can add you as a family member to their policy. The cost isn't that great, but more importantly you start building a record so that if and when you do get a car, insurers won't quote you a ridiculous premium like $3,000 a year.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 16:42
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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Definitely do a combination of Uber and Zipcar. This is what we did until we had a baby, which is a whole other ballgame. Heights to downtown is like $7 each way without a surge. A zipcar is $140 weekend days. Think about that vs. a car payment, insurance and gas.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 16:31
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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If you generally use the 87 to get to/from the PATH in Hoboken, another option is to take a jitney to/from Journal Square. The PATH train ride is longer, but the jitneys run very very frequently.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 15:37
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Re: Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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I'd say between uber and zipcar your periodic needs will be met mostly. That said if you can sort out the parking aspect, there are plenty of inexpensive used car options on autotrader.

Posted on: 2015/3/8 15:21
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Heights Survival Guide - buy car vs. car share/UBER?
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After waiting 40 minutes in Hoboken yesterday for the 87 Bus, I've felt the final straw and accept that living in the Heights is impossible with the current state of mass transit, and I will never appreciate or have access to what JC has to offer relying on NJ Transit. My choices are buy a car, or see if using UBER, Enterprise/Zip Car memberships fill the gap.

So I'm seeking feedback (humbly, from those I've bashed about their dependence on cars) on the relative costs so I can decide which works for me. My needs are simple, as I'm a city boy and am content in-town mostly:
- monthly or bi-monthly trips to the country to visit my mom or go camping
- weekends, 1 or 2 trips to DTJC/Greenville for art events, or into city to meet friends for galleries, dinner, etc.
- a few times a year, trips to IKEA or to buy computer/media equipment

Oh, and I live in condo in Heights that doesn't have parking. Any thoughts based on your experiences as to what the alternatives might cost me? I've lived here 6 years without a car, in part because I don't make a lot of money. Thanks!

Posted on: 2015/3/8 15:11
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