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Two kids, no car: how this Vancouver family saves $8,000 annually going car-free

Two kids, no car: how this Vancouver family saves $8,000 annually going car-free

Family photo of Wiebke and kids with train passing by in the background.

Wiebke Bohm, originally from Germany, has lived in Canada since 2015. She works as a senior lighting technical director and lives with her family in downtown Vancouver.

“With transit, taxi and car sharing services, and living walking distance to work, we never miss owning a car. I also try to live environmentally friendly.”

Together with her husband and two children, aged three and five, they fully embrace a multimodal lifestyle. Instead of owning a car, they take transit, bike, and use carsharing to keep their carbon footprint minimal.

A conscious choice

For the Bohm family, the decision to live car-free isn’t just about convenience — it’s a conscious choice driven by their commitment to environmental stewardship.

It’s not that they can’t afford a car; rather, they actively choose not to own one.

The family prioritizes living sustainably and practices practical steps to reduce her carbon footprint like taking the SkyTrain. They recognize the impact of excessive car use on the planet.

Navigating parenthood without a car

Their journey to a car-free lifestyle started by challenging a common notion: that you need a family car.

“One of my co-workers told me when I got pregnant with my first child, a car was the first thing I would buy,” says Wiebke. “I looked at him and said, ‘No I won’t’. And I’ve stuck to it!”

Parenthood often prompts car ownership, especially when you have two children. However, the Bohm family has successfully navigated the city using bicycles, public transit, and car-sharing services.

Wiebke says, “We take SkyTrain and bus around 10 to 20 times a month. We don’t use the bus as often as other transit modes as our double stroller or bike trailer takes up quite a bit of space.”

She also added that their travel options depend on the season.

“We take Aqua taxi in the summer months,” says Wiebke. “In winter, we use more carsharing services to get by.”

One of Wiebke’s travel hacks is to use a stroller to carry her child seats to car-share vehicles. As nature-goers, the Bohms often use inter-city bus services when heading up to Squamish, Whistler, and Grouse Mountain.

Championing affordable climate action

Tackling climate change also yields another big benefit — saving money. Wiebke says she spends about $819 per year on transit for a family of four.

Yearly cost comparison of owning a car versus transit Monthly Passes.
Learn more about the total annual costs of driving versus transit.

Moreover, since kids 12 and under ride free, the Bohms continue to save even more money, making their transit-oriented lifestyle even more cost-effective.

Aside from riding transit, Wiebke’s family also travels around town with an electric cargo bike, which they often use for grocery shopping. They also spend about $40-to-60 a month on carsharing.

All together, by opting out of car ownership, the Bohms could be saving around $8,000 per year. But that’s not what motivates them.

“Our motivation is not financially driven as we could afford a car,” says Wiebke. “We simply choose not to — because it fits our lifestyle and we are convinced that we have less of an environmental impact if we don’t.”

Overcoming challenges

Living car-free in a world designed for automobiles presents challenges, especially with kids. From coordinating schedules to ensuring everyone has what they need for each outing, the Bohm family acknowledges the existing barriers to a transit-oriented lifestyle. However, their perseverance and dedication to their sustainability values keep them going.

Join the movement for everyday, affordable climate action and take Transit for the Planet. Learn more about how you can cut carbon and grow your savings at

Sean Park


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