Why owning a second car doesn’t really make much sense …

The title of my post says it all… Before we start, there are some assumptions to this statement.
The assumptions are as follows:

  1. Your are living in a Tier 1 / Tier 2 city in India which has decent Uber / Radio Cab connectivity (Have heard good things about Meru as well See Update 2 below).
  2. You use your car as much as an average person does – say about an hour or so a day.

Let’s pull out our calculators for this one…

Step 1: Determining the cost of ownership of a car in India

  1. Cost of a new car (average make): Rs. 5,30,000.00 (A)
  2. Lifetime of a car: 7 years (pretty decent estimate)
  3. Fuel expenses (considering diesel without inflation): Rs. 2,000 per month (on the lower side)
    Cost over 7 years: Rs. 1,68,000.00 (B)
  4. Car Insurance (considering Rs. 10k avg per year): Rs. 70,000.00 (C)
  5. Car Maintenance / Servicing: (Rs. 10k avg per year): Rs. 70,000.00 (D)
  6. Change of tyres (twice in 7 years @ Rs. 3,500 per tyre): Rs. 28,000.00 (E)

Let’s add all this up: Rs. 8,66,000.00 (T = A+B+C+D+E)
Cost of owning this car / day over 7 years: T / (365 x 7) = Rs. 338.94 per day.

Please note that these are fairly conservative estimates. The cost here will be somewhat higher due to:

  1. Rise in the cost of fuel over the years.
  2. Not considering the amount you may need to pay for parking in your society (going rate in Pune is 1.5L – 2.5L per spot)
  3. Not considering the loan that you probably need to take to buy a car @ 15% pa. (you will end up paying an additional 2L interest over a 7 year loan period).
  4. You may not want to get an average car but a more expensive one. (Add the difference in costs accordingly.)

(Adding these expenses will take up the cost of your car to about: 8.66L + 1.5L parking + 42K fuel inflation @ Rs. 500 extra pm + 2L for loan = Rs. 12.58L or Rs. 492 per day over 7 years)

What this means is that everyday your car is sitting in your garage, you are wasting Rs. 340.00 – Rs. 492.00 per day.

I am going to consider the case in which you need a second car for your spouse to go to work.
(My office is around 8 km from home and hence my fuel costs are Rs. 2k per month approximately. If it were further, fuel costs would go up accordingly)

Also, most folks I know – use their second car even more sparingly than this particular use case.

Step 2: Let us consider the alternative: Uber / Ola Cabs / Meru / Other Radio Cab Services (See Update 2)

This is what I would pay one way to travel from my house to work.

Uber - Pune 2014-10-08 00-02-17

So: Rs. 120 one way. Rs. 240 both ways per day.
Assuming that I don’t need to use my car to travel on the weekends (Sat, Sun) my expense turns out to be:

  1. Per week: Rs. 240 x 5 = Rs. 1,200.00 (W)
  2. Over 7 years: W x 52 weeks x 7 = Rs. 4,36,800.00
  3. Cost of travel per day (over these 7 years): Rs. 170 per day
    i.e. I will be saving 340 – 170 = Rs. 170 per day just by not buying a car and using Uber instead.

In addition to this, the benefits of Uber / Similar services (over driving your own car are):

  1. You don’t have to drive a car.
  2. You get a nice, air conditioned, chauffeur driven mini-sedan (UberX has Sedans).
  3. No worries of filling up fuel, getting your car insured every year (especially by the Insurance Revenue program), PUC, serviced and maintenance.
  4. No more driving around for hours – looking for parking.
  5. No worries about someone hitting / denting / scratching your car while driving / parking.
  6. You can use your travel time to catch up on that extra level of Candy Crush instead of cursing those taxi and rickshaw drivers.
  7. With a little pre-planning, you can use your other single car between yourself and your spouse in most occasions. Saving on money and the environment by carpooling.
  8. The extremely satisfying feeling that you get when you press a virtual button on your phone and a car magically appears in front of your door cannot be beat. The magic of technology!
  9. Let someone else worry about getting you through that rush hour traffic – while you sit comfortably behind playing Candy Crush.
  10. Did I mention you don’t have to drive a car anymore?

Isn’t this all worth it? Not only do you save 170 bucks a day (Rs. 62,000.00 per year), you pay only when you travel. So if your travel needs are more infrequent – say for example, you need a second car only 2 – 3 days a week, your costs will come down even further – to about 80 – 100 bucks a day (or 60-70% cheaper than owning a car).

Step 3: So what is the hold up?

Sigh… There always is a catch isn’t it?
In this case, there are a couple of them:

  1. Uber isn’t as widely available as I would like it to be – and this will still be in only Tier 1 / 2 cities for sometime.
    Most of the times, it takes me between 10-15 mins on an average to get a cab (after pressing a button on my phone).
    Depending on your address in Pune, it could take you longer (20-25m). So a little pre-planning is required. However for the popular areas (camp / Viman Nagar / Kalyani Nagar / Koregaon Park / Aundh / Station / Airport / etc. – cabs arrive in between 5 – 8 mins which is not bad at all).
  2. You would be dependent on public transport / rickshaws – incase Uber cars are not available tomorrow.
    So you cannot depend on them a 100% yet – but with a little pre-planning, you can get around it.

In the end, I believe it is a lifestyle choice – something that we are very interested in trying. The economies make sense and the convenience makes so much more sense. If only the service grows and has enough drivers – then we’ll be talking.

Step 4: Get your first ride free – on me – worth upto Rs. 300.00

Just because you have read this post so far, your first Uber ride is on me. The coupon for the Rs. 300 off is: ubersaurabhj

Download the App on your phone (search Uber on the App Store, Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store), sign up (most debit cards and all credit cards work), hit Menu > Promotion and enter this coupon.

Update 01 – 08-Oct-2014

Gaurav pointed me to two interesting resources related to my blog post:

  1. An interesting discussion on hacker news.
  2. A blog written by Sam Altman (in SF) with an excel sheet having the same thoughts as me.

Update 02 – 08-Oct-2014

I have added Meru as a viable option in my posts assuming their rates are at par with Uber. But I was quite surprised to see them substantially expensive. In Pune for example, their minimum base fare is 200 bucks compared to UberX’s 90 bucks. Also their price per km is 20 vs UberX’s 12. That won’t hold up to my earlier calculations.

Disclaimer:
This post may seem that it has been sponsored by Uber – but that isn’t the case. The level of service and convenience that these guys offer is giving us the first glimpses of “Transport as a service” – which we haven’t seen so far. A service which allows you to summon a ride at the push of a button gives you the ability to dream about getting rid of that vehicle you rarely use anyways and use your hard earned money smarter.

We are actually very serious about selling our second car and converting to Uber – so if you see any flaw in my plans / calculations, please leave me a comment so that I can rethink! Thanks :)

How is the IPL experience at the new Subrata Roy Stadium in Pune?

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the match between Pune Warriors and the Chennai Super Kings at the newly built Subrata Roy Stadium here in Pune.
Thought about sharing my experiences here.

So, a couple of friends and me decided to go for this match – which  took place on the 14th of April, 8:00 pm.

We booked the tickets on BookMyShow and the only ones available by the time we booked it on around the 6th / 8th of April was the Rs. 1,500 ones.
So we got those.

On the day of the match, we drove 30 kms outside Pune to reach the stadium.
Yes, I live near the airport and the stadium is a good 30 kms from it!


View Larger Map

I left home at 4:45 pm because a friend had advised me to leave earlier – and was parked at the parking only by 6:40.
It takes almost an hour to cover the final 2 kms as cars are backed up so long.

Once you are parked on some ground adjacent to the highway, you need to trek a good 2 – 2.5 kms (atleast) to reach the stadium.
Once we got there, we realised that we were in the North Stand and the Stadium gate opens at the South Stand. So we had to literally traverse all around to get to the North Stand.

This walking and getting to our seats took another hour and we were seated only at 7:40 pm – just in time for the toss.

However, the atmosphere at the stadium was electric and that is the only solace (apart from Pune winning) that day.

To cut a long story short, this was my first experience and I will probably not go back again – unless I have VIP seats and parking (which is inside the stadium – at a distance of 10m from the entrance!).

The following are problems, (I feel) that will eventually kill the live match watching experience in Pune atleast – unless something is drastically done about it by next year.

  1. The stadium is frikin’ out of the town – with no public transportation there.
    You literally have to drive on a highway to get there and it takes a good 2 hours to get there. I know you cannot get the stadium inside town, but you could atleast have special buses or something run which ferry people back and forth from the stadium on match days!
  2. The parking is shit! Literally.
  3. By the time you walk from the parking to the stadium, you are exhausted. Forget about having the energy to cheer your team.
  4. Food inside the stadium is daylight robbery.
    They will not allow you to take any beverage, water etc. A 200 ml glass of Pepsi which the chap was filling from a warm 2 ltr bottle and serving (not even fountain pepsi) was for 50 bucks. A Rs. 65 dominoes pan pizza – which again tasted like crap was being sold for Rs. 150. Go figure!
  5. The music, cheerleading, announcements actually stopped at 10 pm!
    We were like – WTF? So for the entire Pune batting innings, there were no cheer leaders and no music.
  6. The crowd gets excited only when the camera is on them.
    When you are watching this on TV, you feel that the entire crowd is energized throughout the game – but in reality, most of the crowd is dead for 95% of the match.
  7. There will inadvertently be a*holes who will spoil the entire experience for you.
    There was a middle aged, man sitting behind us (with his family in tow) passing lewd comments and yelling in our ears. Really screwed up the experience for us.
  8. To get drinking water, you have to trek all the way outside your stand. Water is not allowed inside the stand so that they can sell you more pepsi (which is allowed inside). Go figure!
  9. Once the match gets over, and people start streaming out, there is not an inch of space to walk. I was actually expecting a stampeded to break out anytime. If things are not fixed, I am sure it will.
  10. The walk back to the car is a good 40 mins at 12 pm at night – which sucks!
  11. It takes another hour for you to get your car out of the parking to the main road – which sucks again – considering its already 1 am.
    I reached my place only by 2 am at night for a match which got over by 11 pm INSIDE my own city!

However, if you are a die-hard cricket / Pune / IPL fan, you will probably enjoy yourself.
There are a couple of pros too:

  1. The stadium is fantastic!
  2. The atmosphere until 10 pm is electric – no amount of 50″ HD television can match and the view is breath taking.

However, all said and done, I will be catching the rest of the Pune matches from the comfort of my home with God given, high definition – where water is free and I can feed pepsi to an entire party of people for 50 bucks! And also go to bed by 11:15 for a match which ends at 11!

The video below captures the atmosphere – minutes before the start of the game. It was electric!

My Art of Living

Recently, I have had a decent amount of time to think about life, universe and everything else. Over the past couple of years, plenty of stuff has happened around me which has finally brought me down to this realisation. Please note that this applies to me and me only (though it may also apply to you – but YMMV)

The two principles on which I plan to live my life are:

1. Believe in Karma

I am not religious at all (by any stretch of imagination) – so this has nothing to do with religion or superstition – but simply along the lines of “do unto others what you want others to do to you“. Recently some jerk at my society started harassing me because he felt that I hit his car while parking mine (which I didn’t – I am an excellent driver).

Next day, I saw some unnatural, ‘key-made’ scratches on my car door and the power to my house was mysteriously turned off from the main switches in the meter room.

I was naturally pissed and while I was planning on how-to-get-back-to-him-nicely, a friend, narrated an incident in which a neighbour who similarly harassed his family – going the lengths of shoving nails in their locks so keys couldn’t go in, conked off soon after (due to natural causes of course).

While I, in no way want this guy to conk off (I swear), I am sure his karma will catch up with him soon and thus didn’t do anything to get back to him.
He eventually stopped troubling me (or so I think).

So in short, if you can let something go (little scratches on your car, bearing the heat without fans, etc) — you should.
No point in increasing tension, negativity around your life and wasting time on assholes. Life is too short anyways.

2. Optimize all decisions that you take to gain maximum ‘happiness’ points.

This one is a little more complex and includes some grey areas – hence I have worded it carefully – happiness points.

Different people get happy by different things in life. It can be as small as getting that firmware upgrade for your phone – to buying that Jaguar XK you have always had your eye on. So how will I decide on what to do?

Example 1:
Will owning a Jaguar make me happy? You bet!
Will paying the 1L+ per month on the loan at this point in time affect my happiness points?
Yes. Actually, in my current state, it will reduce my overall happiness by a LOT.

So, I will let the car pass… (for now)

Example 2:
Will taking that awesome vacation that costs 50K make me happy? You bet!
Will the fact that ‘by taking the vacation, I may not be able to make the advance payment on my home loan – that I was planning on’ affect my happiness?
Hardly.

So, I might take that vacation because it improves my overall happiness points.
(And a good vacation / experience, only gets better with time – so that is a definite yes on the vacation)

Example 3:
Would not having to work, just do my thing (watch movies, read books, etc) make me happy? You bet!
Will the fact that I would have to borrow cash from BOD and not be able to buy cool stuff and DVDs affect my happiness?
Definitely … I will be less happy in fact.

So I will pass this as well… (for now)

I think you might be seeing a pattern here.
And it is simple really …

So there!
If you agree with this post and feel that I should & could start a cult / ashram/ religious group / KKK or the like, put in a comment and if I have enough support, I just might!

Alternatively, I also accept donations in  the form of stuff listed above in the blog towards increasing my happiness points without any downturn to me.