Chat in China's biggest English language forum.
Receive our weekly
newsletter.
Find an apartment or rent
yours out.

Join the Shanghai Expat Community!

*   *   *  
*   *  captcha
refresh
  Sign up for Shanghai Expat newsletter.
  Sign up for Shanghai Family newsletter.
  I agree with the Shanghai Expat Terms of Service.  
Register   or   Sign in
CLOSE X
Email or username:
Password: Forgot your password?
Page 1 of 4

Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:38 am
by Mister_happy
Following my third conversation with a family on where to go to at the weekends I was shocked that they did not have a car. As a teacher I am not the highest paid expat here in Shanghai but even I can afford a car!

Its not that dangerous driving on the roads here in China and I have lived in the Middle East where it is near suicide to drive.

Its not that difficult to get a driving licence as even the Chinese can do it.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:48 am
by bigroh74
Would be interesting to get a breakdown of your costs. As I understand it, the price of plates here is more than the price of a car back home. The cost of a car itself prohibitive. Plus, who would want to drive in Shanghai's traffic and where is there to drive to that wouldn't be easier by train, Metro or taxi? Add that to the fact that no expat in his or her right mind would plan to stay here more than a few years or do so on a year by year basis and I can't really see the point in a car. But would be interested to know why you think it's unusual.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:56 am
by Mel69
I m not sure I tend to agree with Mr. Happy ;
I have an old polo bought for about 1500 USD spend 600 USD and re built the engine myself
Plates from Guangzhou ( need a Chinese friend for this ) about 500 USD
Insurance I have the most coverage , do not try to go cheap on this is about 3500 CNY a year and 800 CNY a year for the license agaent to help withthe registration and insurance every year .
I normally do not drive when going point to point inside the third ring.
But i do work outside in Minghan and drive from and to the office every day , and week ends always try to take a day trip around two three hours drive from the city you can find some nice places .

At the end driving here is no different than driving in most large cities same general rules apply
1) You are only responsible for cars in front of you , ones behind and on the sides are on their own
2) When the traffic light changes to green does NOT means go ; means , check the other guy is not running the red , then GO
3) Bicycles , pedestrians are consider as pigeons .... they just better move .

Follow the above accordingly to your position on the road and no issue ...........

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:06 pm
by Moonlighting
The city is not well suited for cars.

- Public transportation is quite good, so a car is not necessary.
- Accidents are likely, because rules of driving etiquette here are followed about as well as rules of sanitation.
- Don't want to deal with locals lying on the ground faking injuries and looking for compensation.
- Not enough parking
- More hassle than it's worth.
- Walking/metro is good exercise and a great way to window shop and meet people.
- Traffic / Insurance / damage and repairs / etc....

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:12 pm
by Hskho1
Parking here sucks, and the public transport here is pretty decent. Worst case just use Taxy, not so expensive.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:42 pm
by januza
I drive my car here and have really no issues

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:52 pm
by MarvinHC
Simple reason: I don't want to be milked by some locals jumping in front of the car etc. just because they see dollar signs on my forehead.
And once you get used to it (took me a while) it is actually nice to have a driver, no worries about parking, finding your way, having a glass or two, ... + I get my email done on my way to work :)

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:08 pm
by TheWulf
Parking issues is my main concern, not enough space - i take my elctric scooter through the FFC much faster than any other car will and I can park almost anywhere I want. As Mel says, it is nice when you drive in the outskirts or for a day/weekend trip, however, downtown is just too much hassle.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:18 pm
by Mel69
TheWulf wrote:Parking issues is my main concern, not enough space - i take my elctric scooter through the FFC much faster than any other car will and I can park almost anywhere I want. As Mel says, it is nice when you drive in the outskirts or for a day/weekend trip, however, downtown is just too much hassle.

This is the point I have an apartment with designated parking , most of the time while doing something inside the inner circle I do not drive but , I have the option to go outside the city anytime , I can go out to lunch from the office with no hassle , not for everyone but I m not sure I could hack it without a bit of freedom that the car gives me not to mention trying to get a cab in a rainy morning or evening

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:27 pm
by Klick
Very narrow band of options in that poll.

I don't drive a car here because, why would I? I didn't drive one in London, and I didn't drive one "back home," because I choose to live in places that make having one obsolete. A car is a ball and chain. I know most of my fellow Americans were raised with the cultural message that car = freedom; I see it as exactly the opposite. Here, if for any reason I need a car, I can get a taxi or hire a driver; anyplace else I've lived, if I need one I can rent one. Why would I want the day-to-day grind of owning one - having to park it, having to insure it, having to maintain it, having to clean it, who needs all that? It's a trap. Screw that.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:31 pm
by Mister_happy
Driving a car has improved my quality of life here in Shanghai, I don't think I could survive here for so long without a car. When you factor in having a baby in a pushchair a car make life SO MUCH EASIER.

Chongming Island from my apartment is less then an hour is a great escape into the countryside.

Pudong is so easy to drive around and park compared to Puxi!

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:40 pm
by crivens200
Mister_happy wrote:Pudong is so easy to drive around and park compared to Puxi!


Having a car is small compensation for having to live in Pudong.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:13 pm
by ratty
MarvinHC wrote:Simple reason: I don't want to be milked by some locals jumping in front of the car etc. just because they see dollar signs on my forehead.
And once you get used to it (took me a while) it is actually nice to have a driver, no worries about parking, finding your way, having a glass or two, ... + I get my email done on my way to work :)


This. I have heard from my expats about how they are intentionally rammed by scooters, bikers, and even cars as an accident with a laowai is viewed as some sort of instant payday.

I could afford a very very nice car here but simply won't drive with risks like that on the road. Heck, I've read several threads here at this forum about laowai's on bikes are targeted for intentional crashes, with one poor guy rung up for nearly 5k USD to pay for "medical costs".

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:14 pm
by ratty
Klick wrote:Very narrow band of options in that poll.

I don't drive a car here because, why would I? I didn't drive one in London, and I didn't drive one "back home," because I choose to live in places that make having one obsolete. A car is a ball and chain. I know most of my fellow Americans were raised with the cultural message that car = freedom; I see it as exactly the opposite. Here, if for any reason I need a car, I can get a taxi or hire a driver; anyplace else I've lived, if I need one I can rent one. Why would I want the day-to-day grind of owning one - having to park it, having to insure it, having to maintain it, having to clean it, who needs all that? It's a trap. Screw that.


I'm an American and view a car free life very positively. The amount of cash I've saved living here all these years without a car is simply staggering.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:32 pm
by crivens200
ratty wrote:
MarvinHC wrote:Simple reason: I don't want to be milked by some locals jumping in front of the car etc. just because they see dollar signs on my forehead.


This. I have heard from my expats about how they are intentionally rammed by scooters, bikers, and even cars as an accident with a laowai is viewed as some sort of instant payday.


That's like saying "I choose to live in Luton cos if I lived in London I'd probably get my legs blown off by some terrorist atrocity".

:lol:

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:33 pm
by Shanghai Noob
Klick wrote:Very narrow band of options in that poll.

I don't drive a car here because, why would I? I didn't drive one in London, and I didn't drive one "back home," because I choose to live in places that make having one obsolete. A car is a ball and chain. I know most of my fellow Americans were raised with the cultural message that car = freedom; I see it as exactly the opposite. Here, if for any reason I need a car, I can get a taxi or hire a driver; anyplace else I've lived, if I need one I can rent one. Why would I want the day-to-day grind of owning one - having to park it, having to insure it, having to maintain it, having to clean it, who needs all that? It's a trap. Screw that.


Bingo.

Its great not having a car here, made possible by living in a massive city. I live on a metro line, cycle to work, take taxis when I want and Uber often. I get an Uber Black when I want comfort, and XL when theres a group of us and walk when I want to. Occasionally hire a driver to go out of the city.

Never worry about whether to have a cocktail before driving or the logistics of parking somewhere. I also have a folding bike which I take on the metro or ferries if I want to explore and sometimes chuck it in the back of a taxi if I have ended up too far from home drinking Pastis.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:36 pm
by Asylum-seeker
7 years of owning a car, have it polished once a year, wax every month, wash once a week, never actually come in contact with anyone, never claimed insurance also during this period, touch wood :mrgreen:

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:39 pm
by Kief
Klick wrote:I don't drive a car here because, why would I? I didn't drive one in London, and I didn't drive one "back home," because I choose to live in places that make having one obsolete.

You grew up in New Jersey, so how did you get around, rollerskates? You were that friend who's always mooching car rides from people.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:48 pm
by Abramis
Driving here is ok. I have two paid parking places (home & office). Parking is not a problem, as city centre has lot of underground parking. With dark windows nobody can see my white laowai face. I prefer driving out of the town, although there are many suicidal nongs out there.

Having a good car is not cheap here. Shanghai plate is also pricey, but makes sense.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:51 pm
by MarvinHC
crivens200 wrote:
ratty wrote:
MarvinHC wrote:Simple reason: I don't want to be milked by some locals jumping in front of the car etc. just because they see dollar signs on my forehead.


This. I have heard from my expats about how they are intentionally rammed by scooters, bikers, and even cars as an accident with a laowai is viewed as some sort of instant payday.


That's like saying "I choose to live in Luton cos if I lived in London I'd probably get my legs blown off by some terrorist atrocity".

:lol:


Your point being? After a while I see it as a luxury. I let a local drive, he makes a nice income and I have one less thing to worry about. If we get into an accident, with him being Shanghainese, he can deal with it.

Not sure about your Luton joke, if you wanted to be overly clever or simply didn't know that Luton has a rather rough reputation?

http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/news/crime/ ... -1-5013407

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:12 pm
by Klick
Kief wrote:
Klick wrote:I don't drive a car here because, why would I? I didn't drive one in London, and I didn't drive one "back home," because I choose to live in places that make having one obsolete.

You grew up in New Jersey, so how did you get around, rollerskates? You were that friend who's always mooching car rides from people.


Uh, no, I lived downtown Jersey City, pal. No need for a car there, and every reason not to have one. Everything I need in walking distance, 24 hour PATH service, decent bus links, taxis if need be. My husband had a car when we moved in together in JC, as he needed to go out and do site visits for cell towers along the turnpike and such. He freaking hated it and as soon as he left that job and got one in Manahattan, he sold that car as fast as he could. No more thinking about parking, insurance, theft, repairs, etc and instead, extra cash for holiday plan tickets. Enterprise rent-a-car 3 blacks away if we wanted to drive out of town to see family or whatever. All around win!

I'm sorry you have such sucky, moochy friends though.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:20 pm
by Klick
Shanghai Noob wrote:Never worry about whether to have a cocktail before driving or the logistics of parking somewhere.


Ha ha, yeah. In 2012 we went back to where our house is in NJ because of Hurricane Sandy and we had a rental car. Husband and I went out to eat one night, had cocktails, wine with dinner, then some more wine, then suddenly realized "shiiit, someone has to drive!" For better or for worse, we were close enough to our hotel that we could walk, but it was a good half hour walk, and it was cold and rainy and by the time we got back we were goddamn sober :(

When I went back with my daughter to the US when she was about 4, we flew to Florida and my dad picked us up at the airport. Next day I was going to go to the store and I called her to come with me and she said "Where's Grandpa?" I told her he was staying home but that he was letting me take his car. Her eyes got big and she said "YOU know how to DRIVE a CAR?!?" She'd never seen me do it, LOL. (She had when she was an infant, but it had probably been since then that I'd driven.) She just couldn't believe that I had this amazing knowledge.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:23 pm
by crivens200
MarvinHC wrote:
crivens200 wrote:
ratty wrote:
MarvinHC wrote:Simple reason: I don't want to be milked by some locals jumping in front of the car etc. just because they see dollar signs on my forehead.


This. I have heard from my expats about how they are intentionally rammed by scooters, bikers, and even cars as an accident with a laowai is viewed as some sort of instant payday.


That's like saying "I choose to live in Luton cos if I lived in London I'd probably get my legs blown off by some terrorist atrocity".

:lol:


Your point being? After a while I see it as a luxury. I let a local drive, he makes a nice income and I have one less thing to worry about. If we get into an accident, with him being Shanghainese, he can deal with it.

Not sure about your Luton joke, if you wanted to be overly clever or simply didn't know that Luton has a rather rough reputation?

http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/news/crime/ ... -1-5013407



Well I wasn't having a go at anyone, just chuckling at the reason for not driving a car here. Would the primary reason for not driving be to avoid locals jumping out in front of you? That's like wearing a crash helmet to bed in case you fall out your bed in the middle of the night.

Luton was just a random choice of non London city. Actually, in the British press at the moment there's been a few stories from young journalists and their reasons for leaving London. The story normally consists of 20 reasons the other place is great and never touches on the real reason, which is they are too poor and have a crappy job. Not sure where I'm going with this . . . . . . . back to my coffee :lol:

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:28 pm
by Shanghai Noob
Klick wrote:
Shanghai Noob wrote:Never worry about whether to have a cocktail before driving or the logistics of parking somewhere.


Ha ha, yeah. In 2012 we went back to where our house is in NJ because of Hurricane Sandy and we had a rental car. Husband and I went out to eat one night, had cocktails, wine with dinner, then some more wine, then suddenly realized "shiiit, someone has to drive!" For better or for worse, we were close enough to our hotel that we could walk, but it was a good half hour walk, and it was cold and rainy and by the time we got back we were goddamn sober :(

When I went back with my daughter to the US when she was about 4, we flew to Florida and my dad picked us up at the airport. Next day I was going to go to the store and I called her to come with me and she said "Where's Grandpa?" I told her he was staying home but that he was letting me take his car. Her eyes got big and she said "YOU know how to DRIVE a CAR?!?" She'd never seen me do it, LOL. (She had when she was an infant, but it had probably been since then that I'd driven.) She just couldn't believe that I had this amazing knowledge.


Ha ha.

Is this your roundabout way of saying you've been steadily drinking cocktails since your daughter was 4?

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:44 pm
by MarvinHC
crivens200 wrote:
MarvinHC wrote:
crivens200 wrote:
ratty wrote:
MarvinHC wrote:Simple reason: I don't want to be milked by some locals jumping in front of the car etc. just because they see dollar signs on my forehead.


This. I have heard from my expats about how they are intentionally rammed by scooters, bikers, and even cars as an accident with a laowai is viewed as some sort of instant payday.


That's like saying "I choose to live in Luton cos if I lived in London I'd probably get my legs blown off by some terrorist atrocity".

:lol:


Your point being? After a while I see it as a luxury. I let a local drive, he makes a nice income and I have one less thing to worry about. If we get into an accident, with him being Shanghainese, he can deal with it.

Not sure about your Luton joke, if you wanted to be overly clever or simply didn't know that Luton has a rather rough reputation?

http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/news/crime/ ... -1-5013407



Well I wasn't having a go at anyone, just chuckling at the reason for not driving a car here. Would the primary reason for not driving be to avoid locals jumping out in front of you? That's like wearing a crash helmet to bed in case you fall out your bed in the middle of the night.

Luton was just a random choice of non London city. Actually, in the British press at the moment there's been a few stories from young journalists and their reasons for leaving London. The story normally consists of 20 reasons the other place is great and never touches on the real reason, which is they are too poor and have a crappy job. Not sure where I'm going with this . . . . . . . back to my coffee :lol:


Ok, Luton was just a bit of a strange example, since most likely the July 7 terror plot in central London originated from that shithole up North.

But back to subject: I would of course drive did I not have the luxury of a driver, but seriously the reason I avoid it are the legal consequences. I have driven in worse places than China and could easily manage the traffic but I don't fancy handling the scene of an accident and the potential angry crowd lynching the (by default guilty) laowei.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:13 pm
by UDChE89
It's easy for me. Company rules don't allow me to drive while living here. I was offered a car and driver but told them I didn't want one. I would figure out how to get around using public transportation. I think I would have gotten home sooner last night after dinner with coworkers in Lujiazui using the metro than the ride I got from my Chinese coworker.

Unfortunately, this isn't going to last since I'm going to have to head down to Fengxian for work sometime next year. Not looking forward to it and I'm already being asked to move.

Klick - I've got a cousin that lives in JC and works in Newark. Visited and loved her location. I can understand how you grew up not needing a car.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:52 pm
by Kief
Klick wrote:Uh, no, I lived downtown Jersey City, pal. No need for a car there, and every reason not to have one. Everything I need in walking distance, 24 hour PATH service, decent bus links, taxis if need be.

Jezus Christ, you lived a rough life. PATH?! :?

I get it now why all the moms on shanghaimamas are scared of you :D

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:46 pm
by Mister_happy
After spending an hour and a half to drive 12km into Puxi it does seem driving is more trouble then it is worth.

But it means I am not stuck on line 1 pressed up against the man with killer bad breath.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:03 pm
by Klick
Kief wrote:Jezus Christ, you lived a rough life. PATH?! :?

I get it now why all the moms on shanghaimamas are scared of you :D


Ha ha. They're not scared of me; those Jinqiao yoga hyenas are way more vicious than I am. Yeah well, I honestly never had any problems with/on the PATH. I have loads of great memories of rides in the wee hours to/from Manahattan. I used to work my bar job in Hoboken until about 3am, then a bunch of us would jump on the WTC train and hit an after hours club, then come back with the sun and go to this place called the Wilton House that would open at 6am to cater for the railway workers getting off the overnight shift. Fantastic collection of old time working class dudes, tranny hookers coming down after trade, young rockers and dealers looking to shift the last of their cache.

Re: Why don't Expats Drive Cars

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:06 pm
by monty burns
Many people complain about the horrible traffic and pollution in China.
Why would I want to add to the traffic and pollution ?

Public transportation is far cheaper and probably safer.

Also, I know the Chinese mentality of always placing the blame on the foreigner. "This never would have happened if you were not here in China". "The rich foreigner will pay for everything".