Thursday, May 31, 2012

The first step to not owning a car

I bought a bus pass today!  I am disproportionately excited about this!!!

City bus lines.
Our apartment is in Hollerich.  You can click this image to enlarge.   I know, only my mom is interested at this level of detail.
 Hi, mom!
Pete will walk to/from work beginning next week.  We have our rental car for awhile longer, but in day-to-day life we will leave it parked so we can test out the no-car plan.
a manual diesel Mercedes something-or-other-euro-car
Pete has been our designated driver since we arrived, and I have no desire to drive here.  It's not super crazy, but it sure doesn't look super fun either.  Our motivation for no car is dual: finances and lifestyle.  We were a one-car family in the suburbs and we're hoping that was good training for no-car in the city.  Opting for a close-in apartment in lieu of a larger house outside of the city was a significant piece of this plan.

Headed under the city to the bus pass kiosk.  James in orange.
A bus pass that covers the city and immediately surrounding areas is 22.50 Euros per month.  If you sign up for a year, the 22.50 is automatically debited from your bank account each month, and every fourth month is free.  So an annual pass is about $200 Euros (around 250 dollars).  For context, in Portland, an annual TriMet pass is about $900-$1000, depending on how many zones are covered.  But to be fair, Portland and the immediately surrounding suburbs is about the size of all of Luxembourg.  To get around the entire country by public transport, the pass is 400 Euros (500 dollars).

Another great thing about the Lux bus pass: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, another adult can ride along with me at no charge.  So for example, Pete can hitch a ride to church every week on my pass.  He may end up getting pass through work, but mine should suffice for now.  Oh, and kids under age 12 ride free (in Portland it's free under age 7, 7-17 are discounted).

We plan to rent a car once a month or so, as needed.  Still working on a system for emergencies - more research and networking required.  Right now I feel the security of the rental car - I may completely freak out when it's gone.  And in the dead of winter.  (It's barely even rained here yet, so yeah, we've been spoiled.)

Again, we haven't met or heard of an American family with kids without a car here yet (although we did already have an American try to sell us a car at our first church visit), but we're assuming they do exist?  Maybe exist?  Either way, we continue to embrace our own oddball-ness.  We'll, we're learning to, anyway.


Unknown said...
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Renay said...

Can you hire a Zip Car like in Portland?

Pete and Rosie said...

From what I can find in English, the city is currently working on developing a car-sharing system, but none is in place yet. Most people we've talked to without cars (just single people so far) rent a car for the day or borrow one from a friend when they need one.