Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why we don´t own a car



When we lived in San Francisco we first had one car each, then later sold off one and just had our little wagon. Even that was a hassle, with no off-street parking. We got occasional tickets for parking during street cleaning times. But it was actually more car than we needed.

Luiz and I are city folk. We walk. We take the bus. We ask our friends for a lift. We occasionally take a taxi. We do not envy car owners.

When we travel we take busses or planes. No problem. Busses in Brazil are NOTHING like Greyhound in the US. Nothing. Very comfortable and safe.

Our apartment location is PERFECT for all our daily needs - AND we have about 15 bus lines that pass within three blocks that can take us to either our nearby friends´ or to numerous spots in Rio, or elsewhere.

Even better [sic] is Luiz´s free bus pass for him and a companion (that would be me) because of his chronic health situation. So we pay nothing to use the bus.

Buying a car in Brazil is not only fraught with peril - it is rediculously expensive (not to mention the price of parking, taxes, insurance -- and gas!) We prefer to put the $$ in our travel pig and make an adventure.

More details about the perils of buying a car in Brazil here.

15 comments:

Meredith said...

I know what you mean, but I'm glad we have a car. We live in Brasilia; public transportation here is a b*tch and now that we're about to have a baby, we felt it was something we needed to do. I don't regret it, but I do understand why people don't own cars. At least I can say that I'm glad that we're a one-family car and not a two.

Jennifer Souza said...

I prefer no car, but we have one and I use it a lot. Luckily, I can walk to work. I actually want a bike and a little motorcycle. Well, no that's not true. What I really want is a horse, but Carlos says we don't have enough green for him/her to eat.

Jim said...

Jen - I LOVE the horse idia!

You really need a perfect urban situation to live without a car. Lucky for us we are in the zone.

Jim said...

I think "idia" is the Portuguese spelling of "idea". I´ve been here too long!

Jenner said...

Thank you for the link about cars in Brazil. Very informative. I left a comment over there, which I paste below, for those who want to know some numbers.
"I live in SJC, I hope I can help you. SJC, as most of the countryside of Sao Paulo, is quite developed. The city boasts 650,000 people and 350,000 cars. Brazil is so diversified. So, what applies to one part of the country, does not apply to another. There are plenty of car dealers. Go to any big one, attached to the brand you want. 1,5% interest per month is the norm, maybe lower. I, personally, have a C4 Grand Picasso minivan, made in France, automatic, 7 seats, glass overhead, 4 zones air conditioning, 17" wheels, front and rear parking sensors etc. It costed me about R$97,000 (USD54,000). I had never my car stolen, I always park in garages, except when I sleep at my girlfriend's overnight. That's when the car is left on the street. Insurance is less than R$1,700 (USD1,000) a year. State tax (IPVA) is something like R$3,000 (USD1,700) a year: I really don't remember well. And gas is much more expensive in SJC (R$2.50/l or USD6.3/gal), when compared to the US. But it is still cheaper than Italy (EURO 1.7/l or R$4,25/l), where I am this week. I take the car to Citroen's garage every 10,000km (6,200mi) where they change oil, repair everything etc (covered or not by 3 years warranty) for R$800 (USD450) in general. The biggest problem in SJC and SP are the fines, since cops and speed checkers are everywhere. Funny thing, lots of cops don't seem to stop the thiefs... Use common sense, hear the locals, go to an authorized dealer and let him take care of the red tape (he is going to charge you about R$350 (USD200) for it)."

Fabio said...

I am like hou guys. I like walking. I walk everywhere and buses are not a problem to me as well. but I've been wanting a car so badly lately. I live in a small town and I get sooooo lazy just to think of going to Rio. Sometimes it takes me 3 hours to get there because of traffic + the time I spend waiting for the bus. If I had a car, I would take maube 1h30 with traffic. Plus, It's much more convinient if you want to travel to other cities in the state.

Jim said...

Thank you, Jenner, for the info.
Fabio, having a car may seem more convenient, but traffic is not faster for cars than busses. You just have to be the driver and experience the stress. Ours is a bus lifestyle...

Fabio said...

I agree that traffic isnt faster for cars, but buses stop at every bus stop to pick up passengers. That's the difference! I don't care about buses, but at this point of my life I can't stand being on a bus for 3h just to get to Rio.

GingerV said...

we have a car - bought used it is now 9 years old and has 66K km on it. hopefull it will last forever because to replace it is now out of our 'zone'. we normally don't take it into Rio, there it is bus, taxi and subway. to me the subway is the best. Here I am now the only one that drives, but I drive into Friburgo, park it under the bridge (literally cause is free to park and easy in and out of town)and walk the length and breath of town to do errands. Parking is 1.5 per half hour.... so for example was tight on time today so parked at the gym, did a bike class and some weights, was 4.50 for parking.... hurts my Welch genetics.

Rachel said...

We have a car. I must say that we didn't until right before my first little one popped out. I do still take the metro and bus on my own and with the kids but sometimes the car is just easier

Born Again Brazilian said...

I love taking the bus between Rio and Sao Paulo! I would rather do it than drive or fly, but I have to convince my husband.
I'm not driving in this crazy city - I'd much rather walk or take a taxi, although Sao Paulo is a lot harder to walk than NYC.

Jim said...

Born Again Brazilian - we are SO HAPPY with intermunicipal and interstate bus service that it has been completely normalized in our lives.

I even forget to check for last-minute flight deals at GOL and other places.

But let´s face it, if we get a great deal on airfair, the taxi expenses (or local bus inconvenience with luggage)to get from the airport to our friends´ house (thinking of Belo Horizontes here) really levels things out.

Plus, overnight buses are so comfortable (take a sweater!)and we sleep through the whole thing...

Buses here are SO civilized.

Jana said...

I hate having a car. Well ok hate is a little strong as its nice to take off for the beach whenever we want but other than that its a money pit. There are so many taxes and inspection fees you have to keep up with and we just found out we didn't do our emissions test in the right month and that is a R500.00 fine and they keep fining you till you get it done. Im beyond pissed since we never got the ticket, it just "shows" up on the computer. We have to have a car because my husband works far outside the city, but honestly Id rather rent for the few occasions we drive to the beach and in the city I always take the bus or the metro, very good systems here! In a bus you are king of the road!

Jim said...

Money pit - exactly.

When we lived in San Francisco it was SO MUCH CHEAPER to rent a vehicle for our travel needs.

home insurance vero beach said...

I acknowledge that traffic is not quicker for vehicles, but vehicles quit at every bus quit to choose up travelers. That's the difference!