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China

Cars

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I was amazed at the number of cars in apartment complex in Shanghai. Many recent apartments have build-in garages. I asked one friend who lives in a 3 years old high-rise apartment. He told me one covered parking spot cost RMB 150,000, or it can be rent for RMB 6,000 per year; the parking along the street costs RMB 1800 per year.

The Taxi drivers complained the “state of business” is not good during new year holiday. One reason is people are driving their own cars. Another reason lots of people went back to their hometown for the New Year. Seems like I am the opposite in this aspect. The same friend told me Shanghai has the most taxi in the world. I kinda agree because I didn’t have any problem getting a taxi these days.

I have not first hand experienced what the traffic will be like during rush hour. But I heard from some friends it’s terrible. One friend did an experiment, he tried all kinds of combinations driving from his home (in Pu Xi)to Pudong during rush hour, the time is the same regardless of what road combinations he has. And the time is the same as taking the subway (including tranfer time). But I can understand some people will still prefer driving because it give them a sense of freedom (freedom of stuck in traffic); not to mention the subway is very crowded in rush hour too — I will have hands on experience tomorrow. I guess that’s just the life of living in big cities such as NYC, LA, and Shanghai.

Will I buy a car if I live in Shanghai? I don’t know. I am used to driving since I’ve lived in the US for a while. But I think I can adjust, considering all the cost of owning a car. In addition to parking, the cost of a license plate is about RMB 40,000. They only issue 6,000 licenses per month using the auction method.

I heard there are places you can rent the cars but the process is not as smooth as US, especially if you have an accident.

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