Considering public transportation

My friend Jessi brought up an interesting point when she visited this past weekend. She suggested being a Chicago resident with a car may be more of a liability than a convenience. She helped me break it down by the numbers:

  • Car payment each month: $242, until it’s paid off in May 2011;
  • Car insurance: currently $79 a month, although she thinks it’s likely to skyrocket with the move;
  • Parking: Most apartments I look at either offer free, hard-to-get on-street parking, or a reserved spot for $50 a month;
  • Public transportation: I will be purchasing a monthly CTA pass for $86 while I’m busy not driving my car.

Not to mention gas, should I actually drive my car somewhere. Why do I need a car? Well. I will need one to initially get to Chicago, and then also to come back for my stuff. And if I ever want to go to Caldwell again I’ll need to drive there. However, Jessi suggested taking Megabus back and forth, like she does from Cleveland to visit her Chicago friend. I just looked, and a one-way bus trip on Megabus from Columbus to Chicago is supposedly $25, a deal that sounds almost too good to be true. But it looks like they make it a straight trip there, because the duration appears to be a little less than seven hours. Now if only Megabus could take me to Caldwell…

Anyway, it’s something to think about. The thought of not having a car readily available at any given moment feels so debilitating, but that’s probably because I am used to living in Ohio. Maybe it really would be different in Chicago? I have a feeling I’ll know more about how likely this option is once I’ve been living there for a month or two. Do you think you could do it?