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Do you need a car living in San Diego?
San Diego Living

icon/user/avatar/20 Created with Sketch. By Travis Triggs

With its sunny weather and coastal location, San Diego may seem like the ideal city to get around on foot, bike, or public transit. However, the truth is that having access to a car offers distinct advantages in navigating this sprawling Southern California region. While pockets of San Diego are walkable or accessible by trolley and bus, the public transportation system is not robust enough to conveniently connect you to all corners of the county without a car. Driving often becomes a necessity depending on where you live, work, and want to explore.

Here are a few factors to consider when deciding if you need a car living in San Diego:

  • Public transportation: San Diego has buses and trolls, but the system is not as extensive as other major cities. Coverage can be limited depending on location.
  • Walkability: Some neighborhoods like Downtown, Little Italy and Hillcrest are very walkable. But much of San Diego requires driving to get around.
  • Ride sharing: Services like Uber and Lyft operate in San Diego which can fill transportation gaps. But costs add up quickly.
  • Recreation: A car makes it easier to enjoy San Diego's many outdoor activities - beaches, mountains, desert, theme parks. These require driving.
  • Commute: Those working downtown or at a transit hub may manage without a car. But most jobs in San Diego require driving.
  • Errands/shopping: While some errands can be done on foot or bike, a car makes quick trips for groceries, shopping, etc. more convenient.
  • Budget: Cars are expensive! Insurance, gas, maintenance add up. Use savings calculators to see if going car-free makes sense financially.

In summary, while San Diego has reasonable public transportation and Uber/Lyft, a car still offers the greatest flexibility and convenience for commuting, errands, and enjoying the region's many attractions and outdoor recreation. Carefully consider your transportation needs and budget.

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