No car, no problem – Millenials don’t see driver’s license as a must

By Whim • March 16, 2022

The amount of young people who choose not to get a driver’s license is on the rise. More and more either see that they don’t have a need for it or prefer to use more sustainable options. For Henna, sustainability is part of her everyday life from recycling to transport.

“It’s funny, but I think my decision not to get a driver’s license was influenced by sustainability on a more unconscious level. Most things I do I do instinctively in a more sustainable way because I want to protect the environment. It’s become second nature to me. And transport is one of those things.”

Henna’s family has always had a car, but the children usually went to their hobbies by bus and the car was used for bigger shopping trips or when visiting relatives. Now, living on her own, Henna does not even miss having a car.

“I’m from Oulu, the promised land of cycling. I’ve somehow grown up with the mentality that a car is a handy thing to have – especially with kids – but I’ve never had the need for it. In university, both cities I lived in had marvelous public transport, but I still often preferred to walk. It was nice to have a chance to be outside and think or listen to an audiobook.”

Having recently moved to Helsinki for a job, Henna chose the location of her flat based on surrounding services.

“A public pool was a must. I’d rather have a longer distance to work and to be able to have a hobby next door than having to travel far for my hobbies.”

So now she lives about half an hour away from her job. She usually takes the train and then jumps on the metro. But all the other modes of transport are readily available in her pocket as well, like a taxi that was very easy to order when she realized she had a bit too much shopping to carry.

“I’m looking forward to spring and being able to ride the e-scooters! It’s nice to know I can use an app I already know to book those as well.”

By pure accident, Henna has always lived in places where public transport was good or lived close enough to all the amenities. But she acknowledges that not everyone has this luxury.

“A friend of mine had to get a car to travel to work. Her job is about 10 kilometers away, which is not bad, but the public transport there does not fit her schedule at all.”

Getting a driver’s license is still not part of Henna’s plans. She says that those plans might only change if she needs to start driving anyone else around.

“It’s become a conscious decision, wanting to protect the Earth and also to support public transport. And every year we have better mobility services in the city and they’re slowly reaching more rural areas as well.”


The Wall Street Journal