The Debate: Should You Take Your Car to University

Getting a driving licence is considered a rite of passage among many teenagers, and soon after that, many young drivers begin to invest in getting their own car. It is one of the first big steps toward independence, and the thrill of freedom of finally driving on your own, in your own car, is something that one rarely forgets.

Another step towards independence that young adults take is going to university. Many students bring their cars along when moving away from home, but should cars really be taken along? There are indeed cases when having access to private transport is necessary and convenient, such as when going back and forth between their dorms and jobs.

If you are considering taking your car with you to university, you have to think about several factors and implications that may make you reconsider your decision.

Are you allowed to bring a car on campus?

The first thing you have to consider is if you are even allowed to bring a car. Many colleges and universities do not because of limited space and environmental reasons, and those who do allow cars to be brought on campus restrict their use. Parking is usually permitted in certain areas only, and these are sometimes located far from the buildings. Students who bring cars have to apply for a permit, which can be expensive. Parking is at a premium on many campuses, and well, you won’t really need it for daily use, unless there is no other way for you to attend classes. Find out your university’s parking situation and regulations for student parking. If the cons outweigh the pros, leave your car at home.

Car costs

If you do decide to take your car to university, consider the basic costs such as servicing, general maintenance, insurance, and vehicle tax. The price of the tax can vary and would depend on your car’s CO2 emissions, age, and engine size. In addition, you will also be spending on fuel—and lots of it, if you plan to use your car on a daily basis. You should also consider the cost of parking spaces where you’re going—you may have a permit to park on campus, but if the parking area is full (professors are usually given priority over students), prepare to do so elsewhere.

Alternatives

If you realised you would be better off leaving your car at home, don’t despair! There are plenty of transportation options that universities offer students. For instance, the University of Reading has a car club that students aged 19 years and above can join for free. Members can book a Fiat500s by phone or online. The rates start at £5 per hour, which already includes the congestion charge as well as the first 30 miles of fuel. The cars are conveniently parked on campus.

There are also online car clubs that students can join for a fee. These online transportation options usually have partnerships with colleges and universities that do not have their own car booking scheme. Aside from car clubs, you can also avail of an online car-sharing service. Car-sharing sites let students put in the details of their trip and look for other students who are making the same journey. When a suitable match is found, they can then arrange to travel together.

With all of these convenient and practical travelling options out there for students, there may really be no need for you to take your car to university. If you are still adamant however, go ahead—just be a responsible driver and car owner, and make sure you are fully prepared not only physically but financially as well.

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