Last week I posted about how we were thinking of getting a car, but at least for now we've decided instead to share a car with one of our housemates. They have a Honda Fit, and while it is important to them to have a car, they don't use it very often.
We're planning on dividing costs in proportion to mileage, though if that ends up being too much hassle we may shift to just splitting things 50-50. This includes repairs, gas, and damage to the car that is not the driver's fault. Damage that is the driver's fault will be covered by the driver. We'll pay half the cost of car insurance or the cost of adding us, which ever is more.
The Bluebook value is $5.9k and we're going to pay them half that up front. This compensates them for the opportunity cost of having some of their money invested in the car. At some point, when we're no longer sharing a car, they'll return half the remaining value. This is not quite right: if we put more miles on the car we should be getting slightly less back, but it's pretty close. If the car travels 30k miles over the next three years it will be worth $4.4k, while if it travels 40k miles it will be worth $4.2k, a difference of just $0.02/mile.
There is also some hassle associated with having the car. When it needs service, we'll take turns bringing it in. Our housemate prefers to leave it on the street, despite having to move it twice a month for street cleaning, and will plan to continue doing that. If we're returning the car within two days of street cleaning, we'll make sure to park it in a street-cleaning-safe spot. Our housemate will still be responsible for moving it for street cleaning if no one has used it in a while. If we choose to park the car in to avoid street cleaning, we'll be responsible for freeing it after.
For managing usage, we'll keep a shared calendar, defaulting to first come first served. If we want to use the car at the same time we'll talk and figure out what makes sense. If no one is currently using the car and it is not reserved, it's fine to use.
We'll keep our carseats buckled in, though if our housemate needs the backseat they are free to remove them or move them to the trunk. We'll make sure we have an extra set so we'll still be able to travel by car in an emergency if our housemate is out.
If this doesn't work, or stops working, we can go ahead with getting our own car, but it seems worth trying as an intermediate step.