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Old 06.07.2014, 20:07
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Help with Geneva commute estimates

Hello forum members,

I would appreciate any advice, tips or experience you may have with Geneva commute times, as I have heard the traffic can be rather horrid (but perhaps no worse than central London?). My 3 year old son and I will be moving mid-August as my husband has a new posting (Meyrin area) and we plan to find permanent housing near his school. We have been offered places at Institut Lancy, Institut Florimont and Geneva English School are inclined to accept Lancy. Google Maps say that it is a mere 7-8 minute drive from Carouge or Old Town, where we would ideally like to live, to Lancy, and a 10-15 minute drive to my husband's office. Are these estimates reliable, can it really be that easy, or should we expect a longer commute?

Are there any other nearby family friendly neighborhoods you might suggest? I see from some older threads that Petit Lancy is considered ok, Grand Lancy a depressive suburb, and other nearby areas Onex, Palettes, are not recommended. I did like Champel on the relocation visit, would that be too far?

Many thanks for any advice, I have loads of questions but hopefully once the housing/school is firmed up, everything else will slot into place.
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Old 06.07.2014, 20:31
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

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Hello forum members,

I would appreciate any advice, tips or experience you may have with Geneva commute times, as I have heard the traffic can be rather horrid (but perhaps no worse than central London?). My 3 year old son and I will be moving mid-August as my husband has a new posting (Meyrin area) and we plan to find permanent housing near his school. We have been offered places at Institut Lancy, Institut Florimont and Geneva English School are inclined to accept Lancy. Google Maps say that it is a mere 7-8 minute drive from Carouge or Old Town, where we would ideally like to live, to Lancy, and a 10-15 minute drive to my husband's office. Are these estimates reliable, can it really be that easy, or should we expect a longer commute?

Are there any other nearby family friendly neighborhoods you might suggest? I see from some older threads that Petit Lancy is considered ok, Grand Lancy a depressive suburb, and other nearby areas Onex, Palettes, are not recommended. I did like Champel on the relocation visit, would that be too far?

Many thanks for any advice, I have loads of questions but hopefully once the housing/school is firmed up, everything else will slot into place.
To be honest, I think you're bring very naive about two things. Firstly those travel times would be possible if there was absolutely no traffic, but you'd need to triple if not quadruple them realistically. Secondly, Carouge, parts of Champel and the Old Town are three of the most sort after and expensive areas to live, anything that does become available for rent will be fiercely contested.

Onex and both Lancys are fine, you just need to get away from the main road and the larger of the apartment blocks. Then your husband could probably travel to work in Meyrin by tram, it would still take ~45 minutes though as it involves a change at Bel-Air.

Ideally you'd do better visiting a few times first and getting a feel for the city, it's only the size of Oxford (but surrounded by small villages and large estates... which aren't all as bad as you'd think), accommodation is also going to depend on your price range, remember that most people here are flat-dwellers, houses and gardens are much rarer and accordingly expensive.
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Old 06.07.2014, 20:48
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Crossing the river seems to be one of the big problems with commuting in Geneva - if the bridges are blocked, you can sit in your car or tram for ages as there are no cunning short cuts. The motorway can also snarl up very quickly at rush-hour, as lots of people live in France and commute in. At least in London you have the option of underground, train, bus etc - Geneva doesn't have a great infrastructure and the city layout is a bit of a nightmare (at least Oxford has a ring-road!).

If your husband will be working in Meyrin, I'd advise finding a school and house on the same side of the river - Bellevue, Versoix, Terre-Sainte are all very nice. Housing is still very expensive, but at least you stand a chance of finding somewhere decent with a garden.

(declaration of interests: our kids are very happy at Geneva English School, conveniently situated in Genthod...)
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Old 06.07.2014, 21:00
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

2 or 3 weekends ago I spent 3 and 45 min in the evening to pass 6km with all the shortcuts I know, granted there was an accident somewhere...
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Old 06.07.2014, 21:21
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

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2 or 3 weekends ago I spent 3 and 45 min in the evening to pass 6km with all the shortcuts I know, granted there was an accident somewhere...
Sadly that seems to happen several times a week, usually during rush hour.
#2 son criss-crosses Geneva several times a day for work and says that it's definitely getting worse.
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Old 06.07.2014, 23:21
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Anjela, Rowan and idefix, thank you for your replies on realistic commutes.

Rowan, could I send you a private message regarding Geneva English School?
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Old 07.07.2014, 05:10
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

I wouldn't plan on driving in Geneva, it gets more difficult or impossible by the day. Really consider using public transport (bus, tram), and finding housing that easily connects, it will save you a lot of time and aggravation.
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Old 07.07.2014, 08:52
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Really two messages. If you can avoid having to cross the river, do. The river crossings are congestion points. Geneva has good public transport and it's a very valid alternative to a car.
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Old 07.07.2014, 10:29
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Just to add something to the OPs original plan. The 18 tram now goes from Carouge to CERN, so the journey could be done without any changes and, because you'll be getting on at the start, you'll always get a seat. The entire journey takes 41 minutes so depending where you need to go in Meyrin, maybe a bit less. I wouldn't dream of driving that journey, especially following the tram route - perhaps avoiding downtown and crossing the pont Butin would be an option.

Last edited by Gordon Comstock; 07.07.2014 at 11:53. Reason: can't spell
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Old 07.07.2014, 11:03
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Ah, yes. I'd forgotten the revised timetable for the 18 tram, they'd still need to be within walking distance of the tramline though; no driving down into Carouge and parking for the day! Same at the other end.

Very little housing avaliable in Carouge though, some new appartments being built behind Bachet but they're already spoken for; and perhaps the OP also isn't aware that the Old Town is basically car-free? Very few garage spaces and they're mostly on the outskirts (bottom of the hill) and you walk to your flat.

Living on the north side of the lake would make their lives a lot simpler!
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Old 08.07.2014, 22:06
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

runningdeer and catandnouse, thank you for the advice

Gordon Comstock, the 18 tram information is much appreciated.

My husband is happy to take public transport if more efficient, the car is really for me to take the toddler to school, play dates, swimming, etc. What do local toddlers and parents tend to do? I've heard many walk to neighbourhood schools but the walk to intl school seems to pass along rather busy roads and tram/rail tracks. Also, I don't know if anyone else regularly walks with a toddler but they're not exactly focussed on getting from point a to b!
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Old 09.07.2014, 12:59
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Yes, most Swiss schoolchildren walk to school by themselves as soon as they get to primary age. Neighbourhoods are planned to facilitate this, although we chose to run a 'pedibus' with other local parents as our kids had to use a crossing where cars sometimes run through the red lights

International schools exist outside of this system - and their children come from a wider area - so often run minibuses to pick children up, although this sometimes involves an extra fee. I'm not sure if the school bus system extends to nursery-age kids as they are less autonomous and would require different car-seats...
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Old 09.07.2014, 13:14
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

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runningdeer and catandnouse, thank you for the advice

Gordon Comstock, the 18 tram information is much appreciated.

My husband is happy to take public transport if more efficient, the car is really for me to take the toddler to school, play dates, swimming, etc. What do local toddlers and parents tend to do? I've heard many walk to neighbourhood schools but the walk to intl school seems to pass along rather busy roads and tram/rail tracks. Also, I don't know if anyone else regularly walks with a toddler but they're not exactly focussed on getting from point a to b!
As Rowan says, walking to school and other places with small children is perfectly normal; I walked or took the tram/bus everywhere with my two when they were young, now my eldest son does the same with his daughters, only using the car if they're travelling outside the main Geneva area.
Parking and traffic are a nightmare in town, but Geneva has a very well developed public transport system so getting to most places really isn't that difficult.

We all know toddlers have the attention span of a concussed bee, that's why you are the one that has to pay attention to what they're doing!

Last edited by Anjela; 09.07.2014 at 13:16. Reason: Missing word
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Old 17.07.2014, 05:19
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Belated thanks Rowan and Anjela
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Old 17.07.2014, 09:02
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

We knew nothing of Geneva before we moved other than what other people had said on this forum: whatever you do, don't cross the river/lake by car. We also wanted to make sure we had access to public transport, so we relied on one car max.

This is the map of all the public transport for Geneva:
http://www.tpg.ch/plans-du-reseau

Then if you go on homegate.ch, you'll have a map of available housing. Match the two and good luck with the move.
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Old 17.07.2014, 10:29
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Can you get a relocation agent to help you with the move? It really is a pain trying to find accommodation in Geneva. If your husband is working in Meyrin, what about living in Ferney Voltaire in France? It's convenient for both Meyrin and Genthod.
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Old 17.07.2014, 11:30
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

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Can you get a relocation agent to help you with the move? It really is a pain trying to find accommodation in Geneva. If your husband is working in Meyrin, what about living in Ferney Voltaire in France? It's convenient for both Meyrin and Genthod.

But not if their kids go to the English school, or is it? I would say if they are wee kids, which seems to be the case, being local to where the school is will make the whole difference to their integration. Having said this, kids who go to independent/international schools seem to live all over the canton and bordering France.
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Old 09.08.2014, 11:41
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

Hi

I too am starting a job in Geneva but it is close to Jussy and so I don't need to enter the city really. I have looked for apartments and I haven't been lucky. I am in a bind and we were thinking a commute from Bouveret would not be so bad as living in France is not an option for us (partner non-EU). The total time is one hour and twenty minutes which I have tested several times now. It's not great but finding something in Geneva in our pirce range would give us #### and there is still lots of competition in Vaud with similar pricing but better accomodation. In Bouveret, we live quite nicely and we won't change cantons.

My question is... can it be done? I am more concerned about winter driving or if an accident causes a block due to the single highway. I was told that once there was a mud slide that stopped traffic. I don't know anyone who does this daily.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 09.08.2014, 12:20
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

I think you should ask yourself why are you putting your son in a private school. The Swiss public schools are very good, and
1. your son will learn French much quicker
2. his friends will live nearby
3. when he is about 5 he can probably walk to his school alone
4. because of #2 you won't be driving about Geneva all the time
5. you will save a LOT of money!
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Old 09.08.2014, 13:01
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Re: Help with Geneva commute estimates

If i'm not mistaken, public schools in Geneva only start from the age of 5.
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