Moving! To sell or not to sell the truck?
March 28, 2005 6:36 PM   Subscribe

MOVING! I am moving to Seattle in May. I have an old truck and a 14 hour drive. Do I sell the truck and fly?

I have a 1989 Ford F-150 that hasn't given me any major problems whatsoever. However it's 16 years old and when I make a trip to visit my dad (2.5 hours) I can sense that it needs a break. Plus, I'll need new tires, fluid changes and probably a tune up or at least a checkup before I can even think about it.

PLUS SIDE TO FLYING: Cheaper! Flying one way to Seattle can be a lot cheaper than taking this gas hog that gets 12-14 miles to the gallon. Yikes.

DOWN SIDE TO FLYING: I'll have no vehicle in Seattle. :(

HELP! My dad said he could probably make a trip up the end of May to bring my stuff in his van so moving my stuff won't be a problem, although I could carry everything I own in my truck. What do I do?
posted by freudianslipper to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (12 answers total)
Depends on where you live.

I lived right near downtown Seattle for 18 months (dexter ave, on the back side of Queen Anne facing Lake Union) and I did not have a car. Nor did I miss having a car. I bought a motorcycle for weekends, and had a company truck for work, but did not use it for "personal" stuff. Parking is expensive, and I found that apartments with parking spaces rented for a premium. Public transportation is really good there. I used the bus, I walked, occasionally took cabs.

If you're in the suburbs, this might not be good, but if you're right in town, and don't have a need for hauling furniture, your local neighborhood is often all you need.

If you're gonna live in town, I'd ditch the car.
posted by TeamBilly at 6:51 PM on March 28, 2005

I had a truck when I lived in Seattle and have this to say: depending on where you live and what you do for work, it will either be a godsend or a total pain in the ass. A lot of Seattle roads in residential areas are narrow with people parked close on both sides which makes driving an F-150 through them not super fun. Add to that that parking is crappy in some areas [and totally not a problem in others] and that you can get around to most places in the city without a car [leaving the city is a little tricker but you can get to the airport and the bus and train stations by bus easily] and I'd say leave the truck, get a good bike and you'll be able to ride it there almost year round and you'll have the bus as a back-up if the weather is truly wretched. Alternately, drive it there with the intent of selling it once you get there, and if you find it indispensible, then don't sell it. Also keep in mind that depending where you are coming from, insurance may be more or less expensive which might help your decision some.
posted by jessamyn at 6:53 PM on March 28, 2005

I lived here for nearly 15 years before I decided to learn to drive and get a car. If you live and work in-city, buses and biking will be pretty good (although public transport is not as good as you might be used to from larger cities). If you live in-city and work on the eastside, buses are decent depending on the nearness of your workplace to a major transit center. My company moving to a less bus-friendly location is one of the reasons I decided to join the vehicular masses.
posted by matildaben at 6:59 PM on March 28, 2005

I lived there for almost 5 years, and did not own a car. Well actually, first I lived on Capitol Hill in Seattle for 3 years, and then I lived in Bellevue (just across Lake Washington from Seattle) for the last two years of that, but my point is that public transportation is good enough there so you don't need a car. When on Cap Hill, I walked downtown to stores frequently. Or in bad weather I took the bus downtown, or to the U-district, or wherever. The buses were almost always on time and easy to use. I bussed to my work in Bellevue from Seattle for three years without any problems at all.

That said, I did need to bum rides or get a cab if I wanted to venture further away. Or rent a car. But even renting and cabbing was cheaper in the long run, since I didn't do it that often. Cabs are also fairly easy to get in Seattle. But if you think you will be driving out of town often (or if you think you might be) then you might want to keep the car for now. I didn't have many reasons to go beyond the busing system, so a car was not practical for me. And yes, there are buses that run to the airport.

If you do keep the car, be prepared to add the cost of parking it to your rent. At my place on Cap Hill, it would have cost me $50 a month for a parking spot.
posted by veronitron at 7:32 PM on March 28, 2005

Flexcar has a presence in the area as well. So that solves it if you really need a car sometime (for those tempting, tempting Ikea trips perhaps). Do you know already what part of the city you'll work in / live in? I can imagine bussing from the East Side can be way easier by bus if you live near a line, just because traffic across those bridges can be harsh and the busses get special lanes.

Grew up there till six years ago.
posted by lorrer at 7:45 PM on March 28, 2005

Err, commuting can be easier by bus.
posted by lorrer at 7:46 PM on March 28, 2005

A steady highway drive, even a long one, is not that tough on a car. I have driven tons of beaters XC. If you want a truck in Seattle, take it, you can always sell it there if you decide you don't need it.
posted by LarryC at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2005

When I moved from Houston to Los Angeles, I rented a U-haul with a tow dolly for about $500. I just hauled my car behind it for the whole 22 hour drive. It was a pain to park because I'd never towed anything before, but other than that, it was fine.
posted by kamikazegopher at 8:52 PM on March 28, 2005

It really truly depends on where you will be living and working. If you live on Capitol Hill and work downtown, you don't need the car. But if you live further out you might need it, depending on the availability of transport. Or, if you are working a night shift job, you might want the vehicle, because the bus service is cut back at night.
posted by litlnemo at 12:39 AM on March 29, 2005

I'm with the "it depends crowd" as well. I lived in a couple of locations and had a few different jobs when I was in Seattle. I had a car there, but I didn't always use it. For one of my jobs I could take the bus no problem, my house was very near a line and I was essentially only going from Wallingford to the University District for work, but I would also take the bus into downtown as well. On the other hand, I also worked on Mercer Island for a while and needed to commute there early in the day from the University district. In that instance, the car was essential to my sanity. I didn't live on Capitol Hill, but many friends did and those who could swing it based on where they worked were happy they didn't have cars. It was my least favorite area to find parking in. Despite the insurance and possible parking costs (though I never paid for that) I think it's a great strategy to have a car handy but to build a routine around not using it if possible. I have to admit that one thing I always used the car for was grocery shopping, I hated lugging all that stuff back from the PCC on the bus especially when it was raining. Pack your stuff up in the truck and drive on out, check out your situation and see if you want to keep it.
posted by safetyfork at 7:07 AM on March 29, 2005

I sold my junker car when I moved from Dallas to DC, but in hindsight I wish I hadn't. I wouldn't be using on a daily basis, but it would be nice to have for weekends and grocery shopping, picking people up at the airport, etc. And since it was a piece of crap anyway I wouldn't worry to hard on parking in sketchy hoods or it getting broken into. I say keep the truck.
posted by modavis at 7:22 AM on March 29, 2005

Response by poster: thank you to all, you've given me a lot to work with. In the end I sold my truck and am borrowing a family members vehicle temporarily to make the trip up. That way I can bring all my stuff in one trip.

Thanks for the tips, i'll be learning the bus system and shopping for cheap cars in a couple weeks. :)
posted by freudianslipper at 11:03 AM on April 21, 2005

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