More New Yorkers Bought Cars During Pandemic to Avoid Public Transit
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It’s been over a year since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged countries across the world since 2020. The onset of the pandemic posed various questions for the future of the automotive sector.
Many of these concerns were whether car sales would boom in the coming years or not. In a strange twist, it seems that it did boom, at least in New York, with people adapting to a new way of life.
In New York, most individuals have bought cars during the pandemic to avoid public transit. Due to this increase in personal transportation, there’s uncertainty regarding the impact it will have on mass transit.
If you thought parking in L.A. was a nightmare, New York City makes it look like a cakewalk.
The unpopularity of car ownership in New York
Car ownership has not been a priority for most New Yorkers for a long time. With atrocious traffic and difficulty finding parking, people haven’t bothered, especially since New York has the nation’s best transit system.
According to the New York DMV, in 2018, more than half of the city’s adults were licensed drivers. Additionally, almost two million passenger cars were registered to New York’s 8.4 million residents then.
Note that the previous statistics do not include commercial autos, semi-trucks, and commuters’ cars packing the streets. Vehicles registered outside the city to avoid pricey insurance premiums are not part of the count as well.
Car sales surge during the pandemic
During the beginning of the pandemic, the number of vehicles on New York City roads experienced a sharp decline. Eventually, most New Yorkers fled for their hometowns or the suburbs. Having a car at this point made the relocation easier.
However, things took a turn in the summer of 2020 when the number of registered automobiles in New York surged. The New York Times also reported that vehicle registrations in the five boroughs rose to 18% in June and July 2020.
Several key events may make New York’s romance with cars short-lived.
First, in November 2021, New Yorkers will elect their new mayor which may result in the reshaping of the city’s infrastructure policy. Second, is the looming congestion tax on trips into parts of Manhattan.
Why is parking in New York such a problem?
Most conversations with car-owning New Yorkers regarding their purchase quickly pivots to parking. Owners explain how alternate-side parking rules shape their work schedules. Street cleaning in New York City was also cut back from twice to once a week during the pandemic.
As a result, drivers did not have to move their automobiles often, according to Car and Driver. The only thing is that finding a parking spot on the street within the city became a nightmare. By January 2021, it was not uncommon to see cars parked overnight in front of fire hydrants.
As things open up, a recent discovery found that New York has taken the title of the most congested city in the U.S., knocking out Los Angeles.
Possibly, things may change in the future, but for now, it’s difficult to tell whether this trend will stick. The number of vehicles representing panic purchases by New Yorkers who fled to the suburbs last summer, never to return, is also unclear.
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