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Old 30.03.2011, 19:35
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A mum needing to drive?

I am just curious to find out whether there are other mums out there who do not drive? I have not yet got my drivers for Switzerland and am quite happy to use the great public transport we have and are close to bus and train stations.

My kids will go to the local schools within walking distance and my hubby can drive over the weekends. Are there any mums who find it more difficult as the kiddies get older not being able to drive?

Thanks for your input!
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Old 30.03.2011, 19:43
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I think it depends not only only on the distance to the childrens' schools but also what free-time facilities there are nearby. Sports Clubs, Music Groups, Libraries, Youth Groups... If you live in a small place, your youngsters may find that getting to any sort of regular sports training or evening entertainment is extremely time-consuming. On the other hand, kids learn to cope with public transport from a very young age, so it doesn't have to be an unsurmountable difficulty.
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Old 30.03.2011, 19:47
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I didn't drive for the first two years we were here but now my kids go to the international school at two different locations so not driving would be impossible. I think with three smallish children I wouldn't go out half as much without the car especially in the winter.

The kids love the train, buses and trams but maybe that's because of the novelty factor.

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Kath
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Old 30.03.2011, 21:23
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

Same as Kath, I didn't drive for the first 3 years of my kids lives (I actually didn't have a license either so it wasn't a choice).

When they were just pottering round at playgroups with me it didn't seem to matter at all - because we could basically take our time with whatever we were doing and it didn't matter if it took 20 minutes to get there on the tram.

Now though, my kids are at local school - which is within walking distance - but therein actually lies the problem. At kindergarten the kids go in the mornings, and one or two days they go in the afternoons. And they come home for lunch. So basically this means on my non-working days I have to be in between 11:50 and 1:30 and then if he's at school in the afternoon I have to be home again at 3:30. If I didn't have a car then it would be impossible to go anywhere at all apart from the village in which I live.

Also now both my sons go to various after school activities which are made a lot easier by driving. Not to mention holiday time activities.

So, whilst I have to say I was always in the no-car-for-me camp - and I love the Swiss transport system - I do now really need my car and without it I wouldn't get to do half as much stuff with the kids as I do.
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Old 30.03.2011, 21:28
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

Thanks for all your input ladies-I think at the stage I am at I can make do without driving but seems that in the near future will have to get it as things can be made a bit more complicated with all the school times etc....
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Old 30.03.2011, 21:40
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

Also I think in Switzerland, you'd miss out on going to a lot of places if you didn't drive...
I take it you can drive, but haven't converted your licence.. I say do it... you never know when it might come in handy.
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Old 30.03.2011, 22:11
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

emergencies for example, what if your kid breaks something? gonna take the bus?....just saying. Also as they grow up you will need to pick them up from parties, gf , movies etc etc.
Just do it once and you are set for life. then you can still decide not to drive if you like....
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Old 30.03.2011, 22:16
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

Yes o! i am with you in this. Sometimes i am grounded because i cannot go to some places with the kids or by myself. Now i am thinking of going for driving lessons.
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Old 31.03.2011, 10:09
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

As already said, if you can just change your licence without hassle, definitely do it. You might be very glad later.

We never had a second car. Mr L often wasn't around to take the children all over the place or to collect them - but they managed to have quite lively social/sports lives.

We used bikes (Mr L too), we walked, we used public transport. Very occasionally we asked a neighbour or a friend to help out - but I helped the neighbours too so I never had the feeling I was imposing on them. I helped other people's children with things their Mums couldn't do, collected other people's children from school (on foot), had them stay here overnight to save Mum or Dad getting up early when their kids and ours had a sports competition on the following day etc. etc.

In an emergency there are, in most areas, taxi services - and if you think taxis are expensive, check them out against the cost, running costs, parking/garage costs, of a second car.

A second car is very convenient. Then you have two children and one has a baseball training in one direction and the other has a music lesson in the other and you are back to square one!

Later: Of course, I should, in the last sentence, have written that hubby is still at work when the ferrying needs to be done, so having a second car still doesn't solve the problem completely.
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Old 31.03.2011, 10:42
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I didn't drive when my daughter was very young (I lived in a country where there was great public transport too), but as she got older found it impossible. As soon as those school activities and invites started coming in there was not a chance I could take care of it all, especially because I worked. Driving became a must.
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Old 31.03.2011, 10:49
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I know quite a few mums in our village who have no car and manage just fine. I too was brought up with a mother who could not drive (for medical reasons so it was never an option) and that was in the UK where the public transport is pants but we didn't find it so bad. We got very good at walking/bicycling/sorting ourselves out. A good lesson in independence.

It has left me with a tendency to always use public transport/walk myself .. so in a strange way, my mother's inability to drive has also gifted me a great legacy in terms of health and being active! I now do drive, and I have a rather nice car (bought courtesy of an exchange rate blip when we moved in 2006) whose principal occupation now is .. to sit in the garage looking all forlorn waiting to be taken out at holiday time. Well no, I do use it a bit, but as regards my children's activities, they are all centred on the village/nearby town and we have good bus routes, so I don't use it nearly as much as I could if I didn't always think Bus First!

But I do think that on odd occasions, the car is useful (particularly holidays). So get a licence if you can but not sure it is worth buying a car for. Have you thought about the mobility scheme?
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Old 31.03.2011, 10:57
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

This post made me laugh and nod at the same time. Your not using the car is like me and lifts in houses, shops and hotels - on the whole it just doesn't occur to me to use them. I've always used the stairs.

A car is convenient. Sometimes you cannot 'get there and back' in a reasonable time without one. But as I said before, if you have two children with wildly differing schedules a second car doesn't always solve the problem anyway.

Those of us who always walked, biked, used public transport manage to cope surprisingly well.
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Old 31.03.2011, 11:01
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

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Old 31.03.2011, 11:04
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

It does seem that at one point when the kids are older and on different schedules will have to do my license. I will need to do one from scratch-so will need the energy to get into all the lessons etc. I am coping fine with the public transport and have family and friends that help here and use taxis in an emergency like the trips to the hospital for baby. We are quite central here and the schools are close but I agree that there will come a point when there are functions at the end of the lake when driving would be ideal thanks for all your input
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Old 31.03.2011, 11:48
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

If you're living in a city, I really can't think why you would want a car (apart from excursions OUT of the city.) But for day to day things, public transportation within the city is hard to beat...
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Old 31.03.2011, 12:29
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I have not been driving for 12 years so i think I can't anymore. In the last 2 years we've been here, I've used my bike and the local transport. My 6 year old daughter can walk to school and we have been biking together to all her activities. She 's been biking along with me since she was 5 1/2. I bike to the kita where her young sis goes. It's 3 km away and is the furthest away i have to bike. I hate having to bike when it's rainy or snowing but luckily w've never had any accident. If we were not living Switzerland next July , I would have had taken driving lessons again and change my licence within the 2 year timeframe. Biking in bad weather with 2 kids is just too annoying.
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Old 31.03.2011, 13:14
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I used to drive a lot in the UK, Italy and Netherlands. When we moved to CH I scrapped my Austin Monte-not-go with the intention of buying a LHD car locally. When we got to Basel, our apartment was in the middle of town next to a major tram and bus stop and I just decided to wait with buying a car as my work was reachable by bike.

Since we came to Zürich, it's the same situation - I just decided it's a lot of money to pay for a car that just sits there and then HAVE to drive it every few days to stop it from seizing up.

Whenever I need a car, I rent one - I will join Mobility one day! Being an infrequent driver I do feel nervous getting in to one - but after a couple of minutes on the road I'm fine. The hard part is just being unfamiliar with the various one-way systems and finding your way around a town
- so I tend to be the annoying dawdler that Swiss drivers love to honk at when trying to figure out where the hell I'm supposed to go. Sorry BMW and Mercedes owners!

If you haven't driven for a while I would recommend you book a couple of refresher lessons with a local driving school just to help get your confidence back.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 01.04.2011, 15:18
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Re: A mum needing to drive?

I haven't had a car here for 3 years. My kids, ages 11 and 7, are just a few mins from school, and there's a regular bus past my house into Morges/ Lausanne. Other times, we cycle - my 7 yr old has a Follow Me Tandem connector for her bike for longer distances or busy roads, my 11 yr old is fine.

I have a child trailer that I use for shopping and taking the recycling to the tip.

I get the use of hubby's car for some days each month, when he travels for work, but even then it mostly just sits on the drive.
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