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Old 04.09.2011, 17:35
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Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

I want to start out this post by saying that I think the SBB is a fantastic rail and bus network that is efficient, clean and extensive. My question is why people prefer it over driving. Here is the breakdown of the cost/time for my wife and I to drive to work vs taking the SBB.


SBB point to point pass 1800chf x2 = 3600yr. or 320 a month
SBB route takes 1 hour and 3 minutes

Car costs 180chf a month for petrol (to and from work)
Car time 25 minutes

So obviously it costs more in petrol to run the car to do leisure and shopping etc, but with the point to point, I can only go between work and home which doesn't do me any good for leisure in the mountains etc. A GA pass would exceed 500 CHF a month.

I realize that you have to buy the car, but we paid 4900 CHF and it will go for years. I understand that a brand new car has significant costs, but I'm talking about an inexpensive used car.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it seems cheaper and way faster. Am I wrong?
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Old 04.09.2011, 17:42
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

Have you factored in the half-tax abo for the SBB - at 165 chufs p.a. p.p.?
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Old 04.09.2011, 17:44
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

Yep...even with the half tax card, it still is no contest for price. Because my wife and I work in the same place, we carpool which makes a difference, but the time issue is what really stands out. It saves me an hour and twenty minutes a DAY to drive!!
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Old 04.09.2011, 17:45
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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I want to start out this post by saying that I think the SBB is a fantastic rail and bus network that is efficient, clean and extensive. My question is why people prefer it over driving.
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Old 04.09.2011, 17:47
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

I suppose if the two of you are driving to work every day together in the same car then yes, it may well work out cheaper - although you need to factor in not only petrol but also the cost of insurance, servicing, repairs and depreciation if you are really going to compare the two.

The disadvantage of two people driving to work together in the same car is that it implies that both have the same start/finish times, no late meetings for one or the other, etc - otherwise it quickly becomes inconvenient for the person who has to hang around waiting for the other one.

Personally my main reason for preferring to commute by bus/train is that I find driving in heavy traffic stressful.

I also think that a 15-minute walk to the station in the morning is good for me. In my last job, I normally drove to work, and I very quickly began to feel out of shape compared to previous jobs when I was walking either to the bus/train or all the way to the office.
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Old 04.09.2011, 17:49
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

I commute from Basel Land to Zurich Kloten daily, and all things being equal I would much rather take the train and just chill out. However its an extra 30 mins and so it makes sense to drive it in.

In terms of costs, the train would be much cheaper. Fuel, insurance, road tax, tyres, servicing and 40,000 km worth of depreciation a year versus CHF 3600 for an annual GA
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Old 04.09.2011, 17:56
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

I think it really depends where you live and work. Me, I haven't crunched the numbers on it since we moved out to Glarus, but I'd cheerfully pay a little extra and/or spend a few minutes longer each day in order to
1) not have to fight my way in and out of Zürich traffic every day
2) be able to read, sleep, knit or do whatever I want for an hour instead of being glued to the steering wheel.

I still have a Swiss driver's license and I occasionally rent a car for road trips, picking up furniture etc. but it's nice not to have to look after one. I also don't have to rent a parking place (would be CHF100/month here, depending where you live it can be significantly more) and I don't have to worry about vandalism, hailstorms, or crime in underground parking garages.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:01
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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Which means?
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:02
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

I initially bought a car to reduce my 1 hour commute down to 10-15 minutes. I moved since but kept the car because I love to go to the mountains and around Switzerland. Even though it's possible with public transport it's a hassle at times.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:03
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

I prefer to drive to and from work. The reasons are:

1) The journey takes 20 minutes max if there is loads of traffic. Otherise around 15. The bus journey (if i make the bus connections on time, which i rarely do since the bus is always late, takes 20 minutes)

2) I dont have to wait for the bus

3) There are no buses to take me to work at 6am. Id rather spend 15 extra in bed than getting to work 15 minutes early. Cant leave 15 minutes early unfortunately

But getting in the center of Geneva is definitely bus time. So much easier than wasting time in traffic and getting a parking fine as you will inevitably get.


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Which means?

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Old 04.09.2011, 18:06
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

Well, apart from the obvious stuff (green issues, working on train, flirting with passengers etc), I think there are two things

1. Reliability - it is rare that routes between major population centres would be a reliable travel time, so if its for worked you'd end up planning for worst case so even though the time may be quicker, you're there earlier than you'd otherwise have been

2. Speed - usually. I guess you have two or three changes and be going to or from some remote place if a 25 minute car journey takes more than an hour on the train. That's the bit that seems unusual for me

I think those two factors will - in 95% of cases - make people favour the train

Last edited by Caviarchips; 04.09.2011 at 23:00. Reason: Removed ironically offensive comment
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:07
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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None the wiser
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:09
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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it costs more in petrol to run the car
Have you factored in
- parking (including renting where you live)
- parking tickets (fines)
- servicing
- depreciation
- insurance
- road tax
- speeding tickets

Once you've added this in, it won't be quite so cheap. I worked mine out once at 50rappen per km for about 16,000km a year
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:09
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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None the wiser

Ok ignore me. I thought it was like lets open a beer and get the popcorn because this is going far.

But there is one obvious reason why public transport is better. You can get drunk and still use public transport
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:11
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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Which means?
Enjoy two or three of those next time you're driving along the autobahn, then come back and tell us why we might prefer to catch the train home from work.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:12
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

surely you also pay rent for a parking space(even if its to your employer...)???
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:17
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

You haven't stated exactly how many kilometers you drive to work: with a VW Golf you are probably spending
around 0.85 per kilometer in total costs, and don't forget those CHF 4'900 you spent on the car will be worth
about CHF 300 in 5 years time.

http://www.tcs.ch/main/de/home/auto_...kilometer.html

It really depends on your lifestyle. If you live in the sticks then parking is cheap and you need a car. If you
live in the town you only need mobility for the weekends, www.mobility.ch

You can also set your commuting costs against personal taxes, and you can buy the SBB year season ticket
on a monthly charge. There is also the "Strecken Abonnement" which is a monthly ticket for endless journeys
over the same route.

I own a little 50 ccm scooter, which costs me about CHF 80 per month to run. Quicker than the bus, nearly
as fast as the car, parking is free and usually within 20 meters from the destination, so quicker than a car.

.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:29
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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Car costs 180chf a month for petrol (to and from work)
Car time 25 minutes
Disclaimer 1: I also know people for whom car is the better options. Swiss roads are not empty. The question is for each of us to answer and I frankly respect anything you come up with.
Disclaimer 2: I know of very few famillies with children who actually can do without a car. Talking single life style here.

BUT, when doing my calculation, I had the math teacher counting the following - quite a couple of things more than on your list:
- Money to pass a driving licence (if applicable, I saved a fortune by not doing it in Norway)
- car insurance
- repares and technical costs
- car itself
- petrol
- garage
- parking money in general, vignette, péages
and minus my taxi budget.

I have saved so much that a GA/AG and five city taxi drives a week are in. No problem, and I don't even need a GA/AG, Halbtax/abo are enough for me. But it will be different for each of us, because we have different lives.

Short version: what ever works for you.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:33
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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I want to start out this post by saying that I think the SBB is a fantastic rail and bus network that is efficient, clean and extensive. My question is why people prefer it over driving. Here is the breakdown of the cost/time for my wife and I to drive to work vs taking the SBB.


SBB point to point pass 1800chf x2 = 3600yr. or 320 a month
SBB route takes 1 hour and 3 minutes

Car costs 180chf a month for petrol (to and from work)
Car time 25 minutes

So obviously it costs more in petrol to run the car to do leisure and shopping etc, but with the point to point, I can only go between work and home which doesn't do me any good for leisure in the mountains etc. A GA pass would exceed 500 CHF a month.

I realize that you have to buy the car, but we paid 4900 CHF and it will go for years. I understand that a brand new car has significant costs, but I'm talking about an inexpensive used car.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it seems cheaper and way faster. Am I wrong?
You also have to figure in TIME. Your car is on demand and generally you only lose time when choosing to drive due to traffic jams. When using trains/trams you lose time constantly, and you invariably end up spending valuable time WAITING. And if time = money, then you have to assign a cost to just what that time is worth to you.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:40
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Re: Car vs SBB: Where's the savings?

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I want to start out this post by saying that I think the SBB is a fantastic rail and bus network that is efficient, clean and extensive. My question is why people prefer it over driving. Here is the breakdown of the cost/time for my wife and I to drive to work vs taking the SBB....
It is all about convenience and time-saving for me. I took the train everyday, 80 mins one way for almost two years. Now I have a car and it is about 45 mins one way. The cost is about the same, even factoring in maintenance, etc. but I just prefer to drive. Part of this is because at least once a day, I was running to make a connection. But mostly, I like to be able to leave when I want and have a little more control over my schedule. Plus, I can do conversational German in the car (which I can't do on the train) and/or sing at the top of my lungs if I want. I am just more relaxed when I get into work and when I get home at the end of the day. It isn't as draining on me to drive as it was to take public transport. And saving half the time is also really nice.
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