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95% of my Pinoy friends in Canada have cars, do I really need one?

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Canada is a dream country for some Filipinos and for some other nationalities. It is a country of many opportunities, but of course, with this reality comes also the cost of living here. One of the expenses that require a budget is your cost of transportation either going to work, visiting a family member, roaming around the city, shopping, etcetera. You can commute by taking a bus, a train, a cab or enjoy a comfortable ride with your own private car going to and from your destination.

Actually, it will only cost you $3.15 in Calgary to ride any public transportation within the city, and this is valid for 90 minutes. Whether you need transfers from bus to train to the bus again, you will be fine as long as it is anywhere along with the system within the duration limit. The fare varies depending on your city. As per taxi fare, the flag down rate as of this writing in Calgary is $3.80 for the first 120 meters plus $.20 for every additional 120 meters and may also differ with each province and city in Canada.

On the other hand, having your own vehicle can be less hassle compared to commuting, but owning a car can be more expensive. It is not only the initial investment of buying or financing a car but many costs can be overlooked. Aside from the cost of purchasing a car, you need to pay the costs of registration, insurance, car seat if you have kids, fuel, parking fees, the processing of driver’s licence and maintenance, where many people get more advice and help from companies like Czok on how to maintain their car to an even higher standard. Selecting the right car insurance can be overwhelming if you do not give enough time to research about the different options out there. You can ease the task by consulting insurance agents such as Staveley Head Insurance. They will help you figure out the best plan for your requirement at competitive price.

If you’ve purchased the vehicle from outside your area and you want it brought to your location, you might want to start doing some research into the best auto transport companies and factor the cost of their services into your considerations. Of course, then there’s also the amount of pollution that cars release into the atmosphere too. That’s why so many people seem to be finding other ways to commute to work, whilst keeping their cars for other journeys. Where I work, I’ve seen most people walk to work. However, I’ve recently noticed a rise in the electric scooter commuter market. These electric scooters are much more environmentally friendly and also serve as a good alternative for a car, especially for those in urban areas.

Should I have my own car? If you are single and used to commute in the Philippines, then you may be able to manage to commute every day. You can plan an itinerary based on the transit schedules and you can use Google Maps or download related applications on your phone. It can also be less stressful as you don’t need to drive and all you have to do is rest while riding the bus or train. Once you get used to commuting in Canada, you will find it easy not unless you can’t stand waiting in freezing weather for a bus or train to come during winter. Or, during those occasions that you need to triple the time in commuting than driving your own car before you reach a tourist destination and even needed a hotel to stay overnight because of transit bus schedule.

Do I really need one? Having a five (5) and a three (3) year- old kids, definitely my answer is ‘Yes!” I can wait for 30 minutes or so outside waiting for the bus during winter, but my kids may not. To experience walking with kids going to and from school because it will be a lot faster than riding a school bus and you see your child crying because of the freezing temperature, then I really need a car. When you need to push stroller from one street to another due to bus stop locations, my answer will still be yes.

Why not take a cab during winter and commute during the rest of the season? I have been there. In Calgary, it is not the same in the Philippines where you just go to the taxi queue and wait or just stand in the front of your house or office building and wave on a taxi. Here you need to call a taxi company phone line to book a trip or do it via online booking. They can arrive as soon as few minutes after you hang up your phone once you call them or wait up to more than an hour or so especially during winter where a lot of people need a cab.

Owning a vehicle is a personal preference. For me, it is essential to a Canadian living, the longer you stay in Canada, the more it gets harder to be without one.

Please feel free to leave your comments below any experience in Canada related to owning a vehicle, your commuting experience in a province where you migrated or even your expectation in the mode of transportation in Canada if you are just about to settle in.

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About Richel Villanueva

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