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Old 07.12.2016, 11:38
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Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I last posted something on the EF and I've been trying to look for similar threads but can't seem to find something that relates to my situation. Anyway, here goes:

I am currently living in ZH (Dietlikon more precisely) while my job is in the ZH airport vecinity and my significant other just got a job at the clinic in Rheinfelden.

My question is, what would be the best location to live and commute for the both of us considering both tax difference and cost of living (ZH, Basel Stadt, Basel Land, Rheinfelden or any other Aargau small town) as well as travel distance between the 2 locations?

I would like to point out that my annual income is slightly above 120k whereas my gf's is a lot lower. However she is the one doing the crazy hours at work more often than me. Thanks and looking forward to your opinion.

Cheers,

Eddy
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Old 07.12.2016, 11:49
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

It all depends on what you want. Do you want to live in the city? Do you mind paying more for your apartment? How long do you feel is reasonable for your daily commute? Considering that your OH has longer (crazy) hours, you may want to live closer to her work.


You can check the various tax rates here:


https://www.ch.ch/en/tax-calculator/


Train schedules and distances here:


http://www.sbb.ch/en/timetable.html
https://www.google.ch/maps


And possible apartment locations here:


https://en.comparis.ch/immobilien/default.aspx
https://www.homegate.ch
www.immoscout24.ch/
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Old 07.12.2016, 12:06
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

Do not move to Basel, it is too expensive for what it is and if you don't work there, you have no reason to live there, imo. It's also not convenient for you. Same convenience issue goes for Basel Land, you'll be looking at a hell of a commute to ZH Airport.

I moved from near Zurich to Basel and then out to Aargau. Would not want to live anywhere else. I'm a city person, but Basel has no city feel for me so it simply wasn't worth the cost and I prefer to live in my little town now, which is 15mins away from Basel.

Rent is lower, insurance is lower, taxes are lower (for me as a Swiss, maybe less so for non-Swiss). I bought an apartment a few months ago and in Basel and surrounds, I would have paid at least 300k more for the same size and standard. No-brainer for me. Despite having a mediocre reputation, I'd say go for Aargau anytime. It's ugly in places, but certain areas are really quite underrated and I'm always surprised so few people in the Basel or Zurich area seem to consider it.

On that side of the canton, just skip Fricktal (godforsaken middle-of-nowhere). I would recommend Baden for the two of you - it's pretty much in the middle of your two work locations, commutable to Rheinfelden by car (approx. 30mins) and train (40mins), commutable to Zurich Airport probably better by train (40mins); no point in driving as Gubrist is always a nightmare, towards that direction even worse than towards the other.
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Old 07.12.2016, 13:09
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

Hi,

Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking that Baden could be a good choice. From what I have checked the tax rate in Basel is significantly higher than what I am paying now in ZH and apartments don't always come cheaper (at least in Basel Stadt) to make it up for the higher tax, not to mention that I would need to pay for a GA on top as well
Can you also say how are the Aargau towns from a social perspective?

Thanks!

Eddy
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Old 07.12.2016, 13:46
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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On that side of the canton, just skip Fricktal (godforsaken middle-of-nowhere). I would recommend Baden for the two of you - it's pretty much in the middle of your two work locations, commutable to Rheinfelden by car (approx. 30mins) and train (40mins), commutable to Zurich Airport probably better by train (40mins); no point in driving as Gubrist is always a nightmare, towards that direction even worse than towards the other.
But on the other hand Rheinfelden, which is Canton AG, has a direct train connection to ZHR.

Baden has the lower tax than Rheinfelden.
https://www.ag.ch/media/kanton_aarga...uerfuesse2.pdf
Important note: You can not compare raw Aargau tax levels with raw Zurich tax levels because the base (what is 100%) is totally different. For example for an taxable income of CHF 120k Zurich City with 119% is cheaper than Baden with 95%.
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Old 07.12.2016, 13:50
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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Hi,

Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking that Baden could be a good choice. From what I have checked the tax rate in Basel is significantly higher than what I am paying now in ZH and apartments don't always come cheaper (at least in Basel Stadt) to make it up for the higher tax, not to mention that I would need to pay for a GA on top as well
Can you also say how are the Aargau towns from a social perspective?

Thanks!

Eddy
I live nearby Baden. Baden train station is well connected both with the airport and Rheinfelden, but keep in mind that finding the apartment nearby the Baden train station could be a bit difficult/expensive. So you would be probably looking at bus/train connection and a bit longer commute times than what you see at SBB.

And as somebody said, no point going with the car to the airport direction. Mornings and evenings this is just an unnecessary torture...
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Old 07.12.2016, 15:37
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

We live in BL but I work in Zurich and the missus in Basel.

We did consider areas in Aargau between the two, but quickly dismissed it because there is no point in both of us having a longish commute. For me its an extra 25 mins but then at least I know she is close to the kids and the house if there is an emergency. Also in terms of traffic, the worst congestion is closer to ZH around the Gubrist tunnel, so living in Baden won't help (if you drive)
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Old 08.12.2016, 10:20
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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We did consider areas in Aargau between the two, but quickly dismissed it because there is no point in both of us having a longish commute. For me its an extra 25 mins but then at least I know she is close to the kids and the house if there is an emergency. Also in terms of traffic, the worst congestion is closer to ZH around the Gubrist tunnel, so living in Baden won't help (if you drive)
If he lives West of the city but needs to go to the airport and wants to drive, living in Basel also won't help to avoid Gubrist Hence the recommendation to absolutely not drive from anywhere West to ZH airport. It's not worth it.

Needless to say the commute from Basel on the train (or car for that matter) is quite a bit longer than from Baden.

I guess it's a personal preference whether they prefer to split the commute evenly or have just one of the two commute and the other one not so much. Granted, since OP's gf doesn't work in Basel either, both would still have to commute out of BS or BL, and depending on where they find a place, this may not be unsubstantial either (e.g. Allschwil-Rheinfelden by train is still around 40mins or so and while technically only 20-25mins by car, traffic tends to be quite bad back into Basel in the evenings). Since it seems to be her that is working crazy hours, I'd probably give preference to a location that makes commuting as easy as possible for her, or even allows her to not commute at all, but of course that's just my viewpoint.
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Old 13.01.2017, 13:13
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

In order not to open a unique thread dedicated to commuting from "x" to "y", herewith my latest news.

Got a new job in Solothurn. While not planning to move any time soon, at least until a probation period is passed, I will be traveling a rather large stretch to work of 80km from Baden. Altogether two times 80km a day. Anyone have done that and would provide their precious feedback re car vs public transport? Navigation says 1h versus SBB's time table doubling it up to 1h45min. Factors like comfort, possibility of working on laptop and resting a bit on train are noteworthy versus easy access to motorway with possibility of traffic jams. Calculated fuel price CHF350 by train versus CHF300 by car per month. Buying GA for a year brings the total price down to CHF270 per month.

Your experience and other suggestions?
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Old 13.01.2017, 13:28
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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In order not to open a unique thread dedicated to commuting from "x" to "y", herewith my latest news.

Got a new job in Solothurn. While not planning to move any time soon, at least until a probation period is passed, I will be traveling a rather large stretch to work of 80km from Baden. Altogether two times 80km a day. Anyone have done that and would provide their precious feedback re car vs public transport? Navigation says 1h versus SBB's time table doubling it up to 1h45min. Factors like comfort, possibility of working on laptop and resting a bit on train are noteworthy versus easy access to motorway with possibility of traffic jams. Calculated fuel price CHF350 by train versus CHF300 by car per month. Buying GA for a year brings the total price down to CHF270 per month.

Your experience and other suggestions?
I do the Basel to ZH slog and my 2p worth is take the car option or move.

Almost 4 hours on public transport is difficult, especially if you have multiple changes. The car gives you more flexibility and your journey seems to be going against the usual traffic. Although you won't be able to work on your laptop, you can take TCs and there are plenty of things to listen to in podcast and internet radio land (I stream several GB a month).

On the cons side, don't just look at fuel, but also wear n tear and depreciation. And do be aware of the new car commute tax rules which commenced in 2016. You won't be able to write off as much of your commuting costs as was previously the case.
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Old 13.01.2017, 13:47
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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I do the Basel to ZH slog and my 2p worth is take the car option or move.

Almost 4 hours on public transport is difficult, especially if you have multiple changes. The car gives you more flexibility and your journey seems to be going against the usual traffic. Although you won't be able to work on your laptop, you can take TCs and there are plenty of things to listen to in podcast and internet radio land (I stream several GB a month).

On the cons side, don't just look at fuel, but also wear n tear and depreciation. And do be aware of the new car commute tax rules which commenced in 2016. You won't be able to write off as much of your commuting costs as was previously the case.
Much appreciated Castro. Many people also suggested moving closer to work but given situation of wife working around ZH/Baden area, it makes it a bit difficult. Past probation period we will reconsider it. Then a burden of commuting would rest on her.

Anyway, the tax incentive for traveling used to be great up until 2016, much less in 2017. Never used it before though with job distant only 10kms away from residence.

Will travel the first week by car and see how it goes. Listening to the radio and language CD's sounds like a great idea. Took my car to service in Waldshut yesterday (oil + filter and etc) but still disappointed that the small garage didn't change spark plugs and braking fluid same day. After spending €270, got new quote for another €400. Now thinking about taking it to BMW dealer tomorrow and get over with it.
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Old 14.01.2017, 12:19
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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In order not to open a unique thread dedicated to commuting from "x" to "y", herewith my latest news.

Got a new job in Solothurn. While not planning to move any time soon, at least until a probation period is passed, I will be traveling a rather large stretch to work of 80km from Baden. Altogether two times 80km a day. Anyone have done that and would provide their precious feedback re car vs public transport? Navigation says 1h versus SBB's time table doubling it up to 1h45min. Factors like comfort, possibility of working on laptop and resting a bit on train are noteworthy versus easy access to motorway with possibility of traffic jams. Calculated fuel price CHF350 by train versus CHF300 by car per month. Buying GA for a year brings the total price down to CHF270 per month.

Your experience and other suggestions?
I did this for a year, 90km each way. By car, it was - officially - a bit over an hour door-to-door. By train, it would have been more than twice that long as I didn't live in the city center and didn't work in the center of the other city, so I would have been required to take a bus, then train, another train, and then another bus.

So I took the car. I was going slightly against main traffic, but there was still plenty of it and I can count on both hands how many times it only took me an hour to get to work or back home. It normally took closer to 1.5 hours, often even 2, even though I was working a lot and rarely left the office before 8pm.

I lasted a year, then gave up and moved. 3-4 hours a day in the car are just not worth it - it's an utter waste of time. Yes at first I figured I'd do the language CD or audio book stuff too, but I never did. Depending on where you live and work exactly, at least the time on the train could be used in a semi-productive way, or, alternatively, relaxing.

The tax incentive for me at the time was massive, but that was back in 2008. Commuting this far cut my taxable income in half. However, I had no life whatsoever and will never ever voluntarily commute that much. And indeed as you say, there is no tax incentive anymore as the maximum deductible has been capped at a ridiculously low amount. Quite frankly, even if there still was the tax incentive, it wouldn't be worth it.

Baden-Solothurn tends to jam up around Aarau and - more importantly - Härkingen/Egerkingen. I'd be surprised if your commute only took an hour on most days, unless you commute during off-peak hours.

Do it for a few months until your probation period is over. Then move.
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Old 15.01.2017, 10:49
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

Thank you Samaire13.

It was slightly over an hour commute during my two interviews in Solothurn and as you say it wasn't during rush hours, one was at 14h00 and the other at 09h00.

My plan is to use the car within a first week and see how it goes. Then I will use the train and see how that one works for me. Eventually, will try to find a permanent solution once have settled and if all goes well.

Good thing is that the destination is near off the motorway but it can well be a curse if there are traffic jams.
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Old 15.01.2017, 10:54
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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Anyway, the tax incentive for traveling used to be great up until 2016, much less in 2017. Never used it before though with job distant only 10kms away from residence.
Got to keep in mind that travel expenses are limited to 3K now. So those 10, 20 or 30K deductions are not possible anymore!
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Old 15.01.2017, 11:21
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

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Got to keep in mind that travel expenses are limited to 3K now. So those 10, 20 or 30K deductions are not possible anymore!
That's what Castro said in the other post.
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Old 17.01.2017, 15:57
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

Hi - in a Situation where i work near ZRH Flughafen and the wife works in Basel. Our Situation is that our industry has most of its companies located in Basel, Zurich or Zug.


With that in mind, we settled in Wurenlos - a bit closer to Baden and the biggest town next to ius s Wettingen. Ist the first town in Kanton Aargau direction Bern/Basel from Zurich on the A1, most noted for a Rest stop that spans the Highway - carrying the same Name but not really linked to the town.


Ist a small town but there are 2 Train stations - depending on where you live you have Access to the Wurelos one or if you're on the ohter side of town there is the Killwangen-Sprietnenbach Station you just cross a Bridge over the Limmat. its best to have a Car - its a nice Little spot that getting more Attention.


As far as communiting by car - no Need to use Gubrist, from Wurenlos you can go via backway that saves time and avoids the Gubrist and the road starts in Wurenlos, the route through Rengensdorf and past Katzensee - it takes me 20 to 25 minutes to get to my Office in the morning.


Regarding Rheinfelding - easy - there are easy Connections to the A1..good - however whereas we can hit Rheinfelding within 30-35 minutes there is a fair bit of traffic at that junction in the morning and the Speed Limit Drops to 80 for quite a Stretch before Rheinfeldin - on the way to Basel - I've found the commute home from Basel better from Rhinefelding that's where it clears up Zurich direction evening wise.


Baden is great choice, we use Baden as our "main City" over Zurich.


Wettingen is ok, it has a nice main street with alot of stores but the Train Station can be a bit isolated Location vs. the main street. Wettingen is Kanton Aargau.


Hope this helps -
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Old 28.01.2017, 10:41
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Re: Commute, cost of living ZH / Basel / Basel area / Aargau

Quick update.

For the past two weeks, I have had absolutely no problem getting to office from Baden to Solothurn well under 60min with traffic flowing very smoothly. So far so good.

Even, I get to play social tennis in Grenchen with my boss and get back home without any issue.
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