Company update

Embracing Mobility Without Owning a Car

Koen Van Looveren

26/1/2024

Illustration | Representing all mobility services used in the blog post.

Starting a company brings its own set of challenges, and one of the decisions I faced early on was how to manage mobility without immediately resorting to taking a loan or starting a car lease. The goal was twofold: to minimize initial expenses and to explore the feasibility of operating without a personal vehicle. This week, I put that decision to the test, navigating my way across Belgium to reach clients and events, armed with nothing but public transport and shared mobility services.

Work from Home Days: Monday & Tuesday

The week began smoothly with two work-from-home days. This setup required no commuting, thus no mobility solutions were needed. It was a gentle start to what would become a week filled with logistical planning and movement.

The Hasselt Meetup Journey: Wednesday

Midweek, I was faced with the challenge of organizing a meetup in Hasselt, which required transporting not just myself but also a significant amount of gear including a camera, audio equipment, a tripod, a rollup banner, goodies, and branded T-shirts. The first leg of the journey involved taking a Velo (Antwerp's bike-sharing service) to the train station, followed by a train ride to Leuven. In Leuven, I worked at InvestSuite before catching a ride with Jens, the co-organizer of the Flutter Belgium meetups, to Hasselt. Carpooling on the return trip to Antwerp made for an efficient and environmentally friendly end to a busy day.

Client Visit in Balen: Thursday

Thursday presented a new challenge: a full day at a client's location in Balen. Assessing the public transport options revealed a daunting travel time of 2.5 hours each way by train. Seeking a more time-efficient solution, I opted for my first-ever ride with Cambio, a car-sharing service I had only joined two days prior. This decision significantly reduced my travel time and showcased the flexibility and convenience of car-sharing platforms.

Another Day to Leuven: Friday

The week concluded with another trip to Leuven, following a now-familiar pattern of biking to the train station using a Velo, taking the train, and then using a Blue-bike (Bike-sharing service that can be used across Belgium) for the final leg to the InvestSuite office. This repeated journey underscored the viability and efficiency of combining different modes of shared and public transport.

Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead

This week (and the past few months) were a testament to the possibilities and challenges of relying on shared mobility and public transport. It highlighted the importance of planning and the availability of diverse mobility options that can be tailored to specific needs. While it required more logistical effort, the experience was enlightening, proving that it is indeed possible to navigate business needs across Belgium without owning a car. This approach not only supports sustainability but also encourages a more flexible and cost-effective way of managing mobility.

The key takeaway from this is that while eschewing a personal vehicle may seem daunting at first, with a bit of creativity and planning, it opens up a new realm of possibilities. It encourages a deeper engagement with the community through shared services and contributes to a more sustainable future. As I continue on this journey, I look forward to discovering even more ways to efficiently navigate the mobility landscape.

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