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Old 30th April 2011, 02:41   #1
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Default Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Seriously. Everyone wants to buy a car, everyone goes for it as soon as we are able to afford it. But where is the place to park all the cars?!

We could say, only people who have parking spaces in their homes should buy cars. But that logic has a huge flaw. No one will buy a car to keep it parked at home. They buy it so that they can DRIVE it somewhere. So the "parking at home" factor does not solve the problem at all.

I was trying to search and find out about whether or not it is legal to park a car in a residential area. Every house owner puts a "NO PARKING" sign in front of their gate, and even if they don't, they come for a fight saying "Dont park in front of my house.". Whether it is legal or not is secondary in India, actually. What will they do to the car if you still park there? That is the question.

So the question naturally comes up, from a car owner's perspective: "Where ARE we supposed to park, when going into the city anyway?"
The retort also comes up from a non-car-owner: "Why should that be everyone's problem? Its your car. Who asked you to commute in your own car?"

OK, a few options:
1. The car should be taken out only when going to an office complex / multiplex / five star hotel / beach which has dedicated parking. Or when going for long drives. At other times, use a bike or auto or call taxi. Yes, expensive proposition.

2. Use a driver. If we cannot afford a full time driver, use a day driver only on those days when we know we are venturing into a parking-problem area. Again, expensive.

3. Don't own a car! This is what this thread is about. If I sit down and calculate, if I use a bike for the regular commute (which I anyway end up doing because of traffic) and use an autorickshaw or a call taxi on all other days a vehicle is needed for non-work-commute purposes, then I will actually end up saving quite a bunch.

So the question comes up: maybe car ownership isn't for everyone? Maybe some of us (middle class guys) should give it up? I am seriously thinking along those lines! My friends in Singapore say the same thing "car buying is only for rich guys" - I can begin to understand why. Its not about the cost of the car, its not the fuel cost. Its the parking.

Long rant.

Thoughts?
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Old 30th April 2011, 02:53   #2
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

In New York City, most people don't own cars - this is almost suicidal in almost anywhere else in U.S. - the reason is a combination of excellent public transport system, perpetual traffic jams and a total lack of parking.

These days in India the moment people can afford EMI they want the biggest vehicle their EMI can buy.

However there still are sane people who own minimal compared to their "status" (I know a bunch) and many own a vehicle (used minimaly) solely because of the unreliability of the public transport system we have.
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Old 30th April 2011, 02:59   #3
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

+1000000000000000.

Hire a cab/rent a car for the weekends with the family or loved one.

Use a Motorcycle. Preferably Green (The Ninja kind, not eco friendly)
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Old 30th April 2011, 03:23   #4
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

If the public transport situation is improved I think more people will start using them. The local trains in mumbai are fully loaded. They are already exceeding their intended capacity. Buses are also full on certain routes. Metro rail is coming to Bombay and I will be happy if it reduces the load on other means of transport.

As far as owning a car is concerned one should buy a car only if we know where to park it. I am assuming one has the money to buy a car. When I have to go to some other place I see whether that will have parking space or not. Sometimes it happens that though the distance is substantial I do not take my car just because I know there will be difficulty in parking the car. In such a case I just use a rickshaw. Sometimes it is frustrating that just because there is no space to park a car I cannot take out my car.
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Old 30th April 2011, 04:15   #5
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post

I was trying to search and find out about whether or not it is legal to park a car in a residential area. Every house owner puts a "NO PARKING" sign in front of their gate, and even if they don't, they come for a fight saying "Dont park in front of my house.". Whether it is legal or not is secondary in India, actually. What will they do to the car if you still park there? That is the question.
I completely see what you are saying. Used to happen to me often. I remember an old man totally lost his temper at me because I parked near his home's pedestrians only gate. I wasn't even obstructing. But he kept scolding me for obstructing.

Anyway, just as we are short of roads in India, we are short of parking space too. It is as much an infrastructure challenge in that area as in building public transportation.
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Old 30th April 2011, 05:00   #6
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
So the question comes up: maybe car ownership isn't for everyone? Maybe some of us (middle class guys) should give it up?
I am not able to upgrade to a better car, due to parking problems as well. Have given up hopes of upgrading cars, and thought about bikes- and the results are quite satisfying!

Instead of having a WagonR for parents, and an Alto K10 or something similar for myself, i am thinking of getting a CBR250R. Except for the safety aspect, a hugely satisfying purchase compared to an entry level car, i guess!

That said, i am no angel to give up my desire for better cars! Solutions are there for every problem, and once some solution pops it head, I am sure i would go for an upgrade! (If circumstances permit!)

How many of us are willing to practice what we preach? Specially when it comes to something as desirable to a team-bhp'ian, as car ownership? I see of us even have multiple cars!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 30th April 2011 at 05:01.
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Old 30th April 2011, 06:48   #7
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

After owning 2 cars, now i own nothing. When i had swift i went out of control as it rush like rocket. Even driver side door changed as it kissed a bus. i10 kissed a kinetic scooter, avenger killed a dog, and my dad had a skid by Aviator. Parking place is not a problem. Had plan to buy a 2 seater car. Hardly have choice. As i drive only on weekends, now I'm using rickshaw, car or bus as a transport

Last edited by deadman : 30th April 2011 at 06:54.
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Old 30th April 2011, 07:20   #8
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

The NYC example above totally applies to Mumbai. To elaborate, that city has a carrot and stick approach to private vehicle ownership. An elaborate and highly efficient public transportation system (metro + buses + taxis) guarantees anyone living anywhere in the 5 burroughs instant access to a commute anywhere within OR outside. Then comes the stick - seriously high parking charges, zero tolerance for honking ($300 for honking at ALL times!) and other fines going up right upto $1000. Together it results in a very strong case for not owning vehicles.

Mumbai is getting there, but we are still about 5-7 years away from being able to take that call, and perhaps we might never decide to shun the car in our generation, having experience first hand the crushing train rides personally.

Bottomline - I would certainly love to shun my vehicle, but the infrastructure around me is making a strong case against such an idea (as of now)
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Old 30th April 2011, 08:11   #9
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Very relevant debate.

One key reason, as folks have already pointed out, that non-ownership of cars in cities NYC or S'pore works is due their efficient public transportation system. However that is also not 100% fail proof. Let me explain.

1. S'pore. Try getting a taxi during rains.

2. NYC. Try walking to a Metro in a shady area.

Yes, these would be events when one would wish to have a personal vehicle. Thats when factors like traffic, parking and cost of ownership comes in.

Here we have all these issues at large, coupled with weak public transportation. Some public transportation initiatives like the Volvo bus in Bangalore and other cities have been moderately successful. I know some colleagues in Bangalore who skip their cars to take the Volvo to office daily.

But places where this is not possible, is two wheeler an alternate answer to four wheelers?

I would say no.

Yes, cost of running an two-wheeler would be far lower. Specially these days when fuel prices are sky-rocketing.

But when it comes to safety in our traffic conditions, I would not risk myself on a two wheeler these days.

I used to be an avid biker. We had a club in B'lore and the travelogues of the club were on the net. However now we have all stopped. Cannot carry my life on line everyday. However the cost.

But we are lucky. We can buy a car.

Some of my friends who commute by bike everyday have taken a large term insurance.

Spare a thought to the person who cannot afford a car. No one wants to discuss this any further, but everyone understands. Are there any options?
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Old 30th April 2011, 09:22   #10
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

We are reaching that level of infrastructure development gradually in India. Slowly but surely its happening. Most people themselves don't want to take a car if a EQUALLY comfortable public mode of transport is available. For instance the Delhi Metro and the AC Volvo DTC buses that have started plying on Delhi roads now. Everyone I know prefers to take these mode of transports now whenever applicable. The government should ensure more such ventures come into play asap. Any public mode of transport will only be accepted by the masses if it complies with a few basic points:
1. Is Air conditioned.
2. Clean and Hassle free.
3. Good connectivity and frequency.

As fas as NYC and other cities are concerned I believe its a cycle that every city goes through in the course of its development. As the city keeps getting choked people start realising the need for shunning the cars. It will very soon happen to Indian metros!
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Old 30th April 2011, 09:51   #11
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

'have frequently noticed in here people, especially from B'lore and Mumbai, saying they bought a hatch due to lack of parking space. So, to the question you have posed, some are already partially answering it through compromises. My thoughts:

City planning - The main reason. Cities in India are like rivers - they make their own course. Consequence, we have huge lopsidedness in distribution of work areas and residential areas. Classic case being Mumbai, where people travel more than 3 hours to reach their work space, one way. Imagine the traffic burden, and more importantly, waste of man hours (the resultant real estate chaos is for another forum). We have private players doing this job now of developing a few large self sustained townships, but that's just an epsilon.

Remedy(partly):
Plans of commercial establishments must compulsorily provide for parking, proportionate to expected visitor count. I know what effect this will have on real estate prices, and your shopping bill. But if you notice in most cities, small and big, several commercial buildings do not even provide any parking space, what so ever.

Last edited by 2cents : 30th April 2011 at 09:55.
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Old 30th April 2011, 09:58   #12
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cents View Post

Remedy(partly):
Plans of commercial establishments must compulsorily provide for parking, proportionate to expected visitor count. I know what effect this will have on real estate prices, and your shopping bill. But if you notice in most cities, small and big, several commercial buildings do not even provide any parking space, what so ever.
True. My office building got 5-6 offices and there's only one car space allotted. I park my car on the road receiving some hit and run occasionally .

Commercial buildings should provide parking space compulsorily and without one, these buildings shouldnt be sanctioned.
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Old 30th April 2011, 10:25   #13
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

I have been having this debate [buying a car for myself] for a few months now with myself but still have not come out with a perfect solution:
Here is what I do:

1. Less than 2kms- Walk [No problem with this]
2. More than 2kms but less than 10kms- Use a 2 wheeler [Only problem is the dust which seriously kills any fun thoughts that I have while riding a bike]
3. More than 10kms or when lugging a few along- Car [Call taxi, family car, friends car depending on the purpose and company.]
The reason why I do this is not parking as fortunately I have some spare or fuel and running cost for that matter, rather I do it because there are simply too many cars around. Chandigarh is still better off in this regard, but Bombay, Bangalore, Hyderabad [I have stayed at each of these places for some time] are seriously choking and the infrastructure can never be good enough unless we slow down.. So guys, use the cars sparingly. Try standing at a red light and notice the difference in the temperature, you will understand my concerns.

P.S. Sorry for the long post and not including any sort of public transport.
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Old 30th April 2011, 10:48   #14
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Better question would be, how much is the middle class car owner ready to spend on parking fees? If the answer is a lot like Rs 100 per hour, instead of building malls builders would build multi level parking structures. The value of land (in prime business areas) has shot up to be comparable to other major cities of the world. But, every thing else (including salaries) is at Indian levels. The govt. cannot regulate parking fees, why would anyone build a parking lot when he is going to get peanuts out of land that is worth Rs20K psqft.
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Old 30th April 2011, 10:54   #15
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Default Re: Should a few of us stop owning cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post
Some public transportation initiatives like the Volvo bus in Bangalore and other cities have been moderately successful. I know some colleagues in Bangalore who skip their cars to take the Volvo to office daily.
I think the Volvos in B'lore and Metro in NCR are the best thing ever happened to these places.

I can very well car pool to office but the peace of mind I get while in the Volvo - no worry about traffic congestion, terrible roads due to flyover constructions, dust, accidents at all is incomparable! You will almost never find a Volvo empty in B'lore - people flock to them in herds.

Same with Metro in NCR. It takes 2hours and 1 litre of blood to drive from Gurgaon to Rajiv Chowk, Delhi. Metro takes you there under 1 hour and in comfort.

In these 2 places, people can leave cars behind only because of the infrastructure.

I know of some many colleagues/relatives who upgraded from 2 to 4 wheelers despite not having a fat pay cheque just because they did not want to live with the uncertainty of not returning in 1 piece at night or catching illnesses due to the pollution.

Give the public infrastructure, I'm sure 90% will get off their private vehicles and hop on to public transport.

But given this - I doubt people will actually stop buying vehicles. We booked a new flat in Pune 5 years ago and each building in the colony has 200% parking i.e. 2 parking slots per flat. And there are people who want still more!

Come to B'lore and you'll see cars parked all over the lanes :
1) people did not bother to think about parking space while constructing houses
2) everyone wants a car!

Each family has a minimum of 2 cars now; some even 3!

All said and done, I think there will definitely come a time when people will wake up to the reality of not having parking space, rising fuel cost and the burden of maintaining a vehicle.
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