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How important is it to have a car in Poland?


terrabull 4 | 32  
12 Sep 2008 /  #1
I've said this before, but we're moving to Poland from the USA next month. My husband and I are debating as to whether or not we'll need a car. We'll be there at most 18 mo. Do you think we'd be ok with relying on public transportation?

I know here it's impossible to get around without having a car, but we'd like to not have that expense.
tornado2007 11 | 2,274  
12 Sep 2008 /  #2
I know here it's impossible to get around without having a car, but we'd like to not have that expense.

well i've never had a car and neve will, i seem to get around fine :) In fact i travel the country a bit more than the average bear and have no problems. Ok so the train is a little late or the bus sometiems gets stuck in traffic but thats life :).

I'm sure in Poland if the public transport is organised well and is on-time you will be able to live your lives there without a car.
ParisJazz - | 172  
12 Sep 2008 /  #3
Do you think we'd be ok with relying on public transportation?

Many factors could decide the answer one way or the other:

do u have kids? will u be living central or in the suburbs? how often do u go shopping? r u the urban types or more country like?

I personally always have a car. The thought of having to fight my way thru public transport with a 24-pack of Stellas and a 6-pack of 1.5l Volvic is enough to make me keep my car.

PJ
dcchris 8 | 432  
12 Sep 2008 /  #4
like they said u have to be more specific. city or rural and where and what r ur needs
OP terrabull 4 | 32  
12 Sep 2008 /  #5
do u have kids? will u be living central or in the suburbs? how often do u go shopping? r u the urban types or more country like?

No Kids. We'll be living in suburbs of Olsztyn, so not a big city. We go shopping once a week, but since I won't work, I'll probably go every couple days or so. We live in the country now, but have lived in cities before without problems.

Oh and I've never driven manual before and I am pretty sure that's mostly what they have over there.
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
12 Sep 2008 /  #6
after month or two you'll make a decision. Now it's good time to buy a used car. They are relatively cheap. and it won't be a problem to get one with AT.
vndunne 43 | 279  
12 Sep 2008 /  #7
Hi. I have been living here nearly 3 years and i have not had a car. 2 main things dictate this:
- The public transoport over here is very good - trams, busses trains. Very easy to get around. I live in poznan by the way.
- i am afraid to drive with the lunatics that drive over here. Speed is defintely king and i will be quite happy to stay off the road for as long as possible.

Negatvie side of not having a car is that it would be good to go exploring the country side. Though if you really wanted to do this, you could always rent a car.

Bestof luck with the move.
ParisJazz - | 172  
12 Sep 2008 /  #8
No Kids. We'll be living in suburbs of Olsztyn, so not a big city

Ive been to Olsztyn a couple of times. You should be ok without a car should wish to save a few bobs.

Having said that, how tight is ur budget? Petrol is expensive in Europe but owning a car that u'd drive once or twice a week doesn't cost that much.

PJ
OP terrabull 4 | 32  
12 Sep 2008 /  #9
Having said that, how tight is ur budget? Petrol is expensive in Europe but owning a car that u'd drive once or twice a week doesn't cost that much.

Our budget isn't tight at all, as my husband's company is paying for everything but utlities. However, I did not know how hard it is to purchase a car w/o much savings, or how much insurance is. I feel like it will be more of a hassle than what it is worth.

His company will be giving us a rental car for three weeks. We can probably test it out then to see if it will be beneficial.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
12 Sep 2008 /  #10
No Kids. We'll be living in suburbs of Olsztyn, so not a big city.

So you may survive without a car but of course having a car make many things easier...
ParisJazz - | 172  
12 Sep 2008 /  #11
The old town in Olsztyn is superb. I am sure you will enjoy it.

PJ
OP terrabull 4 | 32  
12 Sep 2008 /  #12
Having said that, how tight is ur budget? Petrol is expensive in Europe but owning a car that u'd drive once or twice a week doesn't cost that much.

Our budget isn't tight at all, as my husband's company is paying for everything but utlities. However, I did not know how hard it is to purchase a car w/o much savings, or how much insurance is. I feel like it will be more of a hassle than what it is worth.

His company will be giving us a rental car for three weeks. We can probably test it out then to see if it will be beneficial.
scottie1113 7 | 898  
12 Sep 2008 /  #13
I don't think you'll need one, but you might want one if only for exploring the countryside. Having the rental car will certainly help you make a decision. I've been here for a year, and it's the first time in my adult life I haven't had one, and I don't miss it at all.
randompal 7 | 306  
12 Sep 2008 /  #14
Gas is more expensive than in the US and towns are generally more compact, so unless you live outside of town cars are not really a necessity, although as anywhere (apart from places like Warsaw, NY, San Francisco, etc) they offer a bit of independence. I am currently selling my '98 VW Golf, if you are interested PM me.
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
12 Sep 2008 /  #15
All my life in Poland (and thats my entire till now)... I can say... a Car is a must.
OP terrabull 4 | 32  
12 Sep 2008 /  #16
I know there is a great deal of public transportation, like buses and trains, but what about taxis? I'm asking incase we go out at night. The buses stop running around 11.
Dekameron 1 | 146  
12 Sep 2008 /  #17
I've said this before, but we're moving to Poland from the USA next month. My husband and I are debating as to whether or not we'll need a car. We'll be there at most 18 mo. Do you think we'd be ok with relying on public transportation?

If you can put up with public transportation being late a few minutes here and there then its not really important to own a car, here its a comfort rather than a neccesity like in US.

I know there is a great deal of public transportation, like buses and trains, but what about taxis? I'm asking incase we go out at night. The buses stop running around 11

You can get a relatively cheap taxi at any hour, simply ask for a calling card from a driver and you will receive the number of the company, if its a big city calling them from your cell will get you a taxi in whatever point of the city and at whatever hour within 10-20 minutes ( depending on distance and traffic ).

Smaller towns and villages have private taxis that you can find on the internet, you can call these guys at there homes and make appointments or find a bigger company in a nearby larger town, one way or the other its no problem at all.
kioko - | 84  
13 Sep 2008 /  #18
Where exactly are you going to live?
I lived in Olsztyn for seven years (mostly Jaroty) so at night it took 1 hour of walk to get there from the city center. But if you will live somewhere furthere there are only two night buses in Olsztyn and they don't get everywhere. But the taxis should not be very expensive. During day time public transport is quite good, but still depending on the quarter, as in some there might be only one bus running every half hour. If you give me the exact place of staying I could tell you more details of the public transport in this quarter. btw I envy you :( I want to go back to Olsztyn!
randompal 7 | 306  
13 Sep 2008 /  #19
All my life in Poland (and thats my entire till now)... I can say... a Car is a must.

i disagree, after living in Warsaw for the past 5 years I can safely say that a car is an unnecessary headache. if you live in central warsaw it makes more sense to forgo the car unless you drive long distances to work everyday, and then you swelter in traffic all day..
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
13 Sep 2008 /  #20
after living in Warsaw for the past 5 years I can safely say that a car is an unnecessary headache.

I live in Lodz... but still, cant agree with you on that.

A car means.. umm... more independance :). It gives a feel. It gives a sense of self sufficiency. How to explain?... maybe you dont think the way I do.

Good luck.
randompal 7 | 306  
13 Sep 2008 /  #21
It gives a feel. It gives a sense of self sufficiency. How to explain?... maybe you dont think the way I do.

so let's agree to disagree. I don't need my car everyday (luckily) so I find myself paying tax and insurance on a 5000 pound paperweight which gathers dust under my window, and I have to worry about people breaking into it, people stealing my hubcaps, pigeons shi%+ing on it, and of course never finding a parking space close to my flat when I do decide to use it and return home. Plus when I do use it to move around the city, I often find myself stuck in traffic, surrounded by total idiots, meatheads, and people who should have never gotten a license to drive. Gas is so expensive that taking the car from one city to another makes no financial sense if I am going alone, it makes more sense to take the train first class where you can have a beer and read the paper as you go in the same time as if you were to drive.

Yeam, cars give a feel alright - a feel that you are serving the car instead of the other way around. But, I admit if I lived in a smaller town i WOULD want one...
OP terrabull 4 | 32  
13 Sep 2008 /  #22
Where exactly are you going to live?

most likely, we'll be in Jaroty.
kioko - | 84  
13 Sep 2008 /  #23
If you will be in Jaroty than I don't think you nead a car. You will have few busses running quite often and it takes 15-20 minutes to get to the centre. Also, Olsztyn is considered as one of the safest cities in Poland so walking at night is no problem. At least it never was for me. There are also private small buses called OKejka. And night buses goes to Jaroty too. I wish nice staying in Olsztyn!
mafketis 24 | 8,712  
13 Sep 2008 /  #24
It gives a sense of self sufficiency. How to explain?... maybe you dont think the way I do.

I think it's an illusion of self sufficiency (cars are useless without a whole lot of infrastructure that no individual con provide for themselves) so I guess I don't think the way you do.

Anyway, I think for at least 80% of the people that use them in Poland, a car is more a luxury than a necessity. They're a powerful status symbol for many Polish people (much more than in the US) but they're a lot more trouble keeping than in the US too. Gas is more expensive, roads are usually in poor shape, Polish people are mostly awful, reckless drivers with no basic understanding of basic road courtesy, car theft is a real fact of life (not as much as it used to be, but it's still something you have to think about) and trying to park in cities is an exercise in frustration/rage management.

On the other hand, public transport in cities in Poland is better than anywhere in the US and taxis are pretty cheap.

You might decide you want a car to travel around the countryside but basic public transport supplemented by the occasional taxi will probably allow you to enjoy your stay more. I reccomend buying monthly (or 3 or 6 month) passes. It's cheap and you don't have to think about fares, you just jump on whatever bus or streetcar is convenient.

Oh, also. Suburbs (in the US meaning) don't really exist in Poland. It's hard not to be in easy walking distance of stores unless you're way out in the countryside.
Dazza 1 | 33  
13 Sep 2008 /  #26
After living in Krakow,Warsaw and Poznan a car is not a necessity....yes it may be quicker in a car but not really in these cities as traffic is just a nightmare.....public transport is greatr value...petrol is very expensive....the overland trains may not be 1st class but they get you there eventually but CHEAP....

2nd hand cars are at least twice as expensive as the UK sometimes 4 times especially cars between 10,000-20,000pln in england that same car would be at least 50% cheaper ...i feel ripped of each time i drive car in Poland
Uncle Bob 2 | 82  
13 Sep 2008 /  #27
If you dont have a car you have to use public transport which, as in all countries, means travelling with the peasants and going where the peasants go

Get a car. Go where you want when you want to go. It changes life

But Dazza is right, second hand cars are a lot more expensive than in the UK, for example, and dont expect them to have cleaned and polished it before you buy.

And petrol is not that far off UK prices either
Lukasz K - | 103  
13 Sep 2008 /  #28
Hi!

It depends much what you want to do there.
Olsztyn is really small town (for me) and you can easily get everywhere by foot. Public transport is ok, but it is not as good as for example in Warsaw (most of busses run every 15 minutes or half an hour while in Warsaw you very rarely wait longer than five minutes).

But to get out of the town (which I reccomend you) you will need the car. Especially if you like to spen weekends in the countryside, which is very beautifull around Olsztyn (lakes, hills, forest). About 30 km from the center you will find wonderful forest lakes like Limajno, Lanskie, Pluszne etc...

To travel around Poland you can use trains but as Olsztyn is small town (only 150 000 citizens) there are no IC trains there and the "regular" ones are less tidy and much slower (the trip from Olsztyn to Warsaw which is 200 km takes now, becouse of construction works on the tracks, nearly 4 hours - by car it takes 3 hours, and for example IC train from Warsaw to Krakow or Poznan, which are 300 km away, needs 3 hours). And as I remember there are only tree - four trains to Warsaw daily.

Enjoy your stay!

Lukasz
randompal 7 | 306  
13 Sep 2008 /  #29
I think for at least 80% of the people that use them in Poland, a car is more a luxury than a necessity. They're a powerful status symbol for many Polish people

well said, it's absolutely true. most pathetic are all the twats who stand around their Audis and brag about how much better their Audis are compared to the so and so....totally boring
beckyinjozefow 1 | 27  
13 Sep 2008 /  #30
I'm sure it depends on you. We were without a vehicle the first two months we lived here...with a newborn child and 3 other children. We were so grateful for our vehicle. But, if I lived in a city and near grocery shopping, and knew I were only going to be here 18 months, I might not bother (if I had no kids).

However, if you desire the freedom that the car will give you, then search around for a used one. They have come down...way down in price in the last few years.

But, many people who have cars still use the trains to go places, like Zakopane, or trips to the Baltic. Less hassle and sometimes cheaper.

With a car you are always worried whether someone else has decided they need it worse than you do.

Drivers here often have purchased their licenses and aren't really good about the rules of driving and it is true, they are often very rude and ignore signs, etc. Today I was driving on a road under construction where the street was blocked off and only traffic my way was supposed to be on the road but someone coming the other way decided they needed to use the road that was for our direction instead of taking the objazd. Very selfish. I had to wait for them to go. It was only because he didn't want to take the detour... If I had forced the issue and forced him off the road, I would have had the "right of way" to do so, but rather than have the accident, I was polite and let him go.

But I think there are far worse driving situations...try Egypt. !!

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