Whether you’re trying to make it across town to play in a band at a late-night after party or need reliable transport for a part-time morning shift at a seasonal boutique, having a car can feel like a requirement for getting gigs. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options if you’re temporarily or permanently carless.
Walking to a gig might not be your first choice, but when you’ve got no car, it can be a viable option. Obviously, your destination needs to be close enough to walk. But once you start using your feet as transportation, you might find that your acceptable walking distance is farther than you thought. If you’re limited to walking, make a point to seek out nearby gigs. Opting for a lower-paying gig within walking distance might be a better option than taking a higher-paying work opportunity that comes with the added cost of a cab.
A bike is much cheaper than a car, so if you can swing the cost, this is a viable alternative to walking or driving. Many cities have dedicated bicycle lanes and easy access to bike racks, so you can cycle safely and lock your bike up securely while you’re at the gig. Modern messenger bags and bike baskets make it simple to carry necessary gear with you.
Public Transportation Options
Buses, subways, light rails, ferries, and streetcars get thousands of people to and from work every day. They tend to run regularly, so you can easily plan ahead to schedule your arrival and departure time at a gig. Get familiar with local schedules so you know where and when to catch the next ride.
Cabs and Ride Shares
When you’re in a hurry and don’t have a car, cabs and ride shares (such as Uber and Lyft) let you call up instant transport for a price. The cost is high enough that regular use for gigs isn’t recommended- you don’t want to spend all of your hard-earned cash just getting to and from the gig, after all. But when you need to make a good first impression or have a high-paying gig that’s worth the expense, there’s no reason not to make the call for door-to-door service.
It’s never cool to rely on a friend to get you to and from gigs on a regular basis, but an occasional call when you need to transport equipment with you or have an out-of-the-way gig isn’t generally a problem. If you’re asking a friend for this kind of favor, make sure you offer something in return. Pay for gas or buy the driver some coffee to show you aren’t being a mooch.
Car share services are sometimes available in major cities, and they might be an option if you like to drive to gigs occasionally but don’t want the expense and hassle of a car. Car share services charge a membership fee that gets you access to vehicles around the city when you need them. Checking out a vehicle typically costs money as well, so this isn’t usually a cost-saving way to have access to a car if you’re using it every day.
Most people without cars tend to use a mix-and-match approach to transportation. They might bus to a specific stop and then walk the rest of the way to a regular gig, or take a bike most days but call a ride share on rainy days. Developing a thorough understanding of the transportation options in your area makes it easy to switch gears when circumstances change unexpectedly.