Zipcar Carberg

Carberg showcasing the burdens of car ownership in New York City by Zipcar

This month, Zipcar conducted a survey of New York City drivers, exploring their habits, preferences and biggest challenges when it comes to owning and parking their cars in the city.

The takeaway? Parking a car is extremely stressful. 92% of respondents feel that finding a public parking spot in the city is at least “slightly stressful,” and more than 60% find it “very stressful” or “extremely stressful.”

What’s less stressful than finding a public parking spot? Just about anything. On average, respondents reported that going to the dentist, sleeping through a morning alarm, and sitting next to a crying baby on a plane were all less stressful than finding a public parking spot in New York.

Some NYC drivers even said they would even give up sex if it meant avoiding the hassles of parking.

But city parking (and car ownership in general) isn’t just stressful – it’s also expensive and time consuming. NYC car owners report that owning a car is their second largest monthly expense, behind only their rent or mortgage. Parking is a large part of that expense, with a private parking space costing an average of $110 per month across all five boroughs, and at least two to five times that in Manhattan.

NYC drivers also report that it typically takes an average of about 20 minutes to find a public parking space, but that it can take as long as two hours at times.

The complete findings from Zipcar's 2020 New York City Parking Report include:

  • Nearly all car owners in New York City think parking is stressful.
    • 92% of New York City drivers find it at least slightly stressful to find a public parking spot, and 62% find it “very stressful” or “extremely stressful.”
    • Stresses also include fitting into a public parking spot (86% total stressful; 46% “very” or “extremely” stressful), holding up traffic when trying to park (83%; 41%), and avoiding parking tickets (82%; 45%).
    • New York City drivers report that finding a public parking spot is more stressful than sitting next to a crying baby on a plane (87% total stressful; 44% “very” or “extremely” stressful), oversleeping past their alarm clock (74%; 36%), and going to the dentist (76%; 30%).
  • It can take New York City drivers up to two hours to find a public parking spot.
    • New York City drivers report that on average it only takes about 19 minutes to find a public parking space (ranging from 0 minutes to two hours).
    • Brooklyn and Manhattan drivers tend to spend more time looking for public parking (21 minutes on average for each) compared to drivers in Staten Island (16 minutes), Queens (17 minutes) and the Bronx (19 minutes).
  • More than one-quarter (29%) of New York City drivers report using profanity every day while looking for public parking.
    • Manhattan drivers are most likely to report that they use profanity while parking at least once per day (37%), followed by Brooklyn (32%), Queens (24%), the Bronx (24%) and Staten Island (22%).
  • Car ownership and private parking spots cost the average New York City car owner thousands of dollars each year.
    • New York City car owners report that their car ownership is their second largest monthly expense (following only rent/mortgage), topping costs for childcare, retirement savings, groceries, social activities, health insurance, gym memberships and more.
    • On average, New York City drivers who pay for a private parking space near their home report that their parking space costs approximately $110 per month – but there is a great deal of variance, with some respondents reporting that a monthly parking space near their home costs more than $600 per month.
    • Predictably, the average reported monthly cost for a private parking space is much higher in Manhattan ($248) than it is in Brooklyn ($72), Queens ($67), Bronx ($60) or Staten Island ($23).
  • Many New York City drivers report that they would gladly give up things they enjoy if it meant they would no longer need to deal with the hassles of parking ever again.
    • More than one-quarter of New York City drivers report that they would give up social media (31%), coffee (29%), chocolate (26%), or ice cream (26%).
    • Nine percent of New York City drivers report that they would give up sex.

About Hanover Research

Founded in 2003, Hanover Research is a global research and analytics firm that delivers market intelligence through a unique, fixed-fee model to more than 1,200 clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Hanover employs high-caliber market researchers, analysts, and account executives to provide a service that is revolutionary in its combination of flexibility and affordability. Hanover was named a Top 50 Market Research Firm by the American Marketing Association in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, and has also been twice named a Washington Business Journal Fastest Growing Company. To learn more about Hanover Research, visit www.hanoverresearch.com.

About Zipcar's 2020 City Parking Report:The findings contained in Zipcar’s 2020 New York City Parking Report are based on responses to a survey of New York City car owners, conducted in partnership with Hanover Research in February 2020. The survey results reflect the perspective of car owners in all five boroughs in New York, ages 18 and older. The analysis uses respondents’ ratings of various statements and attributes to identify how satisfied New York drivers are with owning and parking a car in the city. Hanover used an online quantitative research survey to gather data from 796 qualified participants after data cleaning that met the following sample criteria: Aged 18+, resident of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island or the Bronx), currently owns a car. 

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