Thanks to a comment on a previous blog post I am reusing my answer here to give a little information on whether or not you should buy a car when coming to St.Gallen.
Firstly the costs. For the numbers below, I have not factored in the actual investment in a buying a vehicle. You can bring one across the border, but the tax implications often make that impractical. It is worth checking this depending on the value of the car you are importing.
Insurance – CHF 1200
Service costs – CHF 500-1000
Bluezone (city) parking – CHF 1400
Private parking at home – CHF 1000
Road/highway taxes – CHF 400
This assumes an average family car which is in good condition.
1) Are you cost sensitive? If you are then you will probably stay away from having a car. I ran the numbers a couple of different ways but each time it comes out a lot more expensive.
2) Convenience. Having a car is convenient, especially when you want to go shopping in Austria or if you want to go to the mountains. But for parking in cities or intercity transport, you will find that having a car is fairly annoying.
3) Public transport. If you live on a frequent bus route then you will find that a car is not needed regularly. But if you find that you are relying on buses 9, 10 or 11 (or just a postbus) you will find that buses are not frequent enough or just stop in the evenings and Sundays.
4) Mobility. Mobility is a car share company across Switzerland. There are 20 different locations around St.Gallen where cars are located and around 50 vehicles available. If you decide to go without a car, then signup for a year membership with Mobility. The cost is low, particularly for journeys less than 24hrs, and it is very quick and easy to pick up a car.