Author Topic: How necessary is a car?  (Read 2643 times)

Sofie

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How necessary is a car?
« on: June 12, 2017, 07:38:21 AM »
I'm retiring and looking to move to the country, and one house with an amazing lot caught my eyes. It is quite far from things though - 3.5 km from convenience store, 8 km from town, 51 km from closest city (but there's a train station 4.5 km away which goes there, as well as a bus). My mother says I should get a car & drivers license first, but I don't really want to and it's expensive - the license alone costs as much as an electric bike, which seems a more reasonable transport to me. She says it's not good enough for heavy items and during winter. Winter doesn't seem to me like it should be an issue - the house has plenty of storage space, so I shouldn't be forced out in a blizzard or cold spell. Heavy stuff I can see, but aside from moving itself, how much of that is there? In my years living in my current apartment the heaviest thing I got was a new pc, which I managed by hand and would have been fine with an elbike for a longer distance. Does owning a house add much?

Spruit

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2017, 09:11:49 AM »
Well, I don't see the harm in first trying out how living carless suits you. You can always get a license + car if you change your mind. Or do you expect difficulties getting a license? IT took me a while, but is very dependant on the country you live I think. Heavy items can probably be delivered, I wouldn't get a car just for those. However, think about how you'll manage if you get sick or injured and are not able to ride a bike. Is there enough of a back up? Seems like thats the case the way you describe it (bus in <2 km?)

Prairie Stash

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 09:49:09 AM »
If your plan is to drive an ebike, I would suggest getting a drivers licence. Its to ensure you know all the rules of the road and understand what the cars around you are going to do. Having a licence doesn't mean you'll have a car, it means you understand how roads and cars operate.

Where I live there are two parts; the written and the practical part. The written is knowing all the rules of the road including what bikes and pedestrians are suppose to do. The second is about learning ow to drive a car. Have you ever attempted the written? If you already know all the rules then it should be very easy for you, if you find it difficult then its a good thing you tried.

Sofie

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 11:23:47 AM »
I'd have to go to the city for driving lessons, as far as I can tell. Makes it a bit more expensive and inconvenient, but nothing insurmountable. I could take the license first, but then it would be wasted if I don't start driving, and I might forget stuff if it was a while before I wanted a car.

Sickness... how much leaves you unable to bike, but still able to drive a car? Either way, I'd be able to call someone if necessary.

There's two parts to the theoretical side here, one course you need before getting behind the wheel, which I got in school, then a written exam tied to the practical exam for the license itself. I don't feel any lack of understanding about drivers - greater understanding might be a point, but it seems like a lot of effort, time and money I'd rather use on other things.

redbird

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 02:50:00 PM »
With the power of the internet, large things and lack of a car are generally less of a problem. You can probably order what you need online and have it brought to your door.

The main thing I'd be concerned about for you is food. You say the closest convenience store is 3.5km away. What about a grocery store?

Since I no longer work, food is one of the reasons I need a car. My grocery store is a 15 minute drive one way from my current house. I could technically bike there. It's about 5.5 miles or 35 minutes one way according to Google Maps. But unfortunately I am not in shape enough yet to handle that long of a bike ride. I hope to get to that point though!

Sofie

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2017, 08:09:42 AM »
It's 8 km, and the convenience store has the food I buy regularly.

As for you, that's why an electric bike can be a good idea :) You don't need to be as fit, and can go further / more loaded if you are.

Louisville

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2017, 05:45:27 AM »
Get a driver's license. Even if you never have a car. Cars are everywhere, roads are everywhere. Shit happens - you may be required to drive someday whether you want to or not. Be safe, be legal.

skeptic

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 07:53:11 AM »
> the license alone costs as much as an electric bike

This seems very surprising or else wrong. What country do you live in? I have lived in multiple U.S. states and a license is usually $25-$50 and lasts for years. That seems like much less than an electric bike.

Given the distances you describe, it doesn't seem like you need to own a car, although there will likely be some social pressure/expectations to have one in your situation, given that almost everyone else will.

I agree with others that having a license is a very very useful thing, and it almost certainly makes sense to get one. It's not a clown car when you are using a pickup truck to haul something heavy and useful a few times a year. Even if you don't own a car/truck it may make sense to rent/borrow/barter one occasionally.

But all the speculation we are doing can only go so far. Do you have the option of trying this kind of situation out for a while before you commit? Then you'll know for sure what is needed or not for you in this location, without taking much risk.

TartanTallulah

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 08:22:01 AM »
How old are you? If you're retiring in your thirties, don't have kids to provide for or ferry around, living somewhere that remote without a car is probably feasible and could be quite exciting. If you're in your sixties, or have a family, or like to go out for entertainment, you could have a very isolated and logistically difficult existence out in the country without a car and may need to weigh up whether this house is really your ideal home or whether you might be better living closer to the town.

bobechs

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 12:54:52 PM »
Everyone needs transportation, sometime or other.  Sometimes that need is so little that walking or ice skates are sufficient.  Sometimes a dogsled will suffice.

But right now might not be the optimum time to be mounting the treadmill of learning to drive and acquiring the infrastucture of a private automobile.

See:  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/stand-by-for-disruption-when-bicycling-becomes-the-high-cost-commute-method/msg1549694/#msg1549694

If you accept the analysis of the linked report, we may be on the cusp of a dramatic reduction in the cost of automobile transportation, one that will depend on the ability of business to split capital costs more efficiently between transportation consumers.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 02:03:46 PM by bobechs »

gaja

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 12:11:02 AM »
> the license alone costs as much as an electric bike

This seems very surprising or else wrong. What country do you live in? I have lived in multiple U.S. states and a license is usually $25-$50 and lasts for years. That seems like much less than an electric bike.
In my country the test alone costs $500, and before you can take it there are mandatory classes costing at least $2000. The test is difficult, so most people take more than the minimum amount of classes. The average cost of a license ends up being around $4000. You can definitely get a good ebike for that.

OP: With a train station 4 km away, I wouldn't bother with a car.

Spruit

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2017, 02:07:28 AM »
Yes, a drivers license more expensive than an ebike is not dat fetched at all in the NL. Not the license per se, but the lessons you require to qualify. Just having a relative show you how it's done is illegal here. I don't even know exactly what being able to drive has cost me, some multiple thousands of euros in total. Looking back: not sure if it was worth it. Okay, it's more convenient at times but I could've invested those thousands instead...

cadillacmike

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 02:16:27 AM »
We still don't know where the OP lives, so we don't know his unique circumstances. Its probably not the US though, because of all of his / her references to km and not miles.

If you want targeted advice, then please either put your location in your profile or in the first post.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2017, 02:36:42 AM »
Are you happy to get stuff delivered if necessary (does Amazon and similar exist where you are)? Are Ubers/taxis/buses available if you're sick or the bike breaks? What about any impact on your social life? Any other activities further afield, or other family members? Are there better food options at the more distant supermarket/is it cheaper?

Ultimately, there's no harm in giving it a go. If it works well for you, great. If not, well then there's always the option of getting a licence/car.

Sofie

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2017, 01:57:35 AM »
I'm in Norway. The minimum hours at a driving school are around 20000 NOK.

I'm young, single, not very social. There's taxi, including a bus-priced one for getting you to / from train / bus.

gaja

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Re: How necessary is a car?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2017, 09:45:56 AM »
There is a giant difference between central areas of Norway; the central east and the area surrounding the larger cities, and rural Norway. I have tried living without car and driver's licence in both, with and without children, and it is night and day. Rural train stations might have a train once a day, while the central ones can have trains passing by several times an hour from 04 in the morning to 02 in the night. When you then also have buses and taxi-for-bus, living without a car is easy, and I know plenty of people who do it.