To think that public transport should be the cheaper option?

(67 Posts)

Train and bus fares are mindblowingly expensive, in most cases it's cheaper to drive now. When did that happen? Wasn't there a time, not so long ago, that if you wanted to save on petrol you'd take the bus?

We don't drive, we get around by walking. Bus fares are shockingly expensive, we don't even entertain the idea of using them. It costs us £11 to travel 15 minutes into the next town by train. DP does this every day for work. It is crippling.

With the train operating companies posting hundreds of millions of pounds in profits it's hard to see why fares are constantly on the rise, for such a basic and essential, not to mention environmentally friendlier, public service.

AIBU to think that it should be the cheaper option, and not something families and commuters should have to spend up to a quarter of their salary on every year?

rubyduo Thu 26-Jun-14 17:50:18

It's affordable where we are. £1.45 for adults to travel within the bus region and free travel for all dc, we have about 20 bus routes within a 5 min walk. I don't own a car, I wouldn't want to deal with the trouble of traffic and parking anyway, but the cost of maintenance, MOT, insurance, petrol and other ownership costs would never outweigh the cost of public transport. We've done UK breaks by train and it's never been very expensive, I always use a railcard though or book a promotional advance fare. It is one reason though why I'd never consider moving to a more suburban area.

cantbelievemyeyes Thu 26-Jun-14 14:58:28

Neither of us drive, and live in the North East using a combination of bus, Metro and train services run by different companies. We live just outside of the zone boundary that would allow us to buy one ticket to cover all of these which is a bit of a pain and increases the cost by about 70%. It would be great to learn to drive and would work out cheaper in the long run, but spending on public transport doesn't leave enough for driving lessons and saving for a car so not a lot we can do right now...

kali110 Thu 26-Jun-14 14:11:14

Yanbu at all. Its just so expensive. Im on disability at moment but pay £60 a month for a bus pass to go to hospital apps. The single journeys are jyst so expensive. I cant believe the price of the short journeys!
It really is cheaper to go by car than bus

BrieAndChilli Thu 26-Jun-14 14:00:02

We live 4 miles from the kids primary school, no bus route and are out of catchment for school council run buses.
Lots of people in our village go to that school so there was talkof paying for a minibus, school looked into it and it was going to be £4 per child a day, I have 2 soon to be 3 children at the school so would be £12 a day, doesn't cost be anywhere near that in petrol, at most £3.

hellskitty Thu 26-Jun-14 13:47:10

so to go to the nearest market town 7 miles away involves 1.5 mile walk(no footpath ) to bus stop £6 ticket and 1.5 mile walk back.!

hellskitty Thu 26-Jun-14 13:44:33

Our bus service (well it is 1.5 mile walk from our village) is the same price £6 no matter where you go.So return to the big city 30 miles away is the same price as a single ticket to the next village 4 miles away and there are no reductions for DC

Olga79 Thu 26-Jun-14 13:41:08

Making it easier to take bikes on trains would be great too, we do quite a lot of biking and have to take the car if we want to take bikes as the rules about their carriage are so complicated

Crinkle77 Thu 26-Jun-14 13:31:57

Where I live the council have cut the subsidies they pay to the bus companies. As a result the bus company has cut a lot of the services particularly those going through rural areas, evening and weekend services.

OberonTheHopeful Thu 26-Jun-14 13:28:09

YANBU, I think public transport should be seen as a public service, and an essential one at that.

Crinkle77 Thu 26-Jun-14 13:26:46

Olga79 they were talking about the very same thing last night on watchdog

Tanith Thu 26-Jun-14 13:22:05

Council tax didn't exist when the buses and trains were privatised.

caroldecker Thu 26-Jun-14 13:13:54

There is not a lot of profit in trains and buses. The reason they cost so much is they are empty most of the time. Many operators also have to cover loss making routes in order to have a licence, so cross-subidise from the profitable ones.
Public ownership meant they were subsidised by the council via council tax, now the user pays.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 26-Jun-14 13:11:43

YANBU, it's eyewateringly expensive.

I had to get the train to work recently due to malfunctioning car. It cost me £7:90 return for a journey of 7 miles because I had the audacity to need to travel before 9am. Because I work nights I had to get single fares at the beginning and end of my nights which cost me £4:20. One of those trips was off peak so no justification for the ludicrous single fare at all!

Added to that I had to leave 1 hour before work in the week and even earlier at the weekend to get to work on time. It takes me 15 minutes maximum to drive!

DH does use the train but he gets a yearly season ticket which is an interest free loan through work. So he buys the ticket and they take it back over 12 months from his wages. He also works flexi time so can arrive and leave around the train times.

Trains should be renationalised. Think of all the executive level salaries that have to be funded out of train fairs, instead of just ONE senior management/executive level/board of directors - they're the guys (and yes, mostly men) on 6 figures, and myriad competing networks all have to have them.

That soapbox aside, the diff. between the train and bus is staggering - a peak return train ticket to London from where I live (LOTS of London commuters, 1 hour journey) is £64 and an annual ticket is £5.5k. The bus is £18 return and an annual pass is £1165 (or £950 to a suburban stop served by the Piccadilly line). I'm quite happy to get up 45 mins earlier to get the bus!

EddieVeddersfoxymop Thu 26-Jun-14 12:48:55

I agree OP! Where we live, it's a tenner EACH to get to my nearest city. So for me, DH and DD that's the thick end of £30 before you even start. To get a train, I have to drive for 20 mins, try to find a space at the station and then pay £25 for the three of us, for 15 mins travel time. If I drive, it takes half an hour each way, couple of hours parking is £3. Total and utter no brainer to take the car.

Kikaninchen Thu 26-Jun-14 12:46:03

I hate the way as well they offer ridiculous all-day/week tickets, presented as being a brilliant offer.

A day/weekly travel ticket in a big city, hop on and hop off as much as you like, is probably a fairly good deal - though probably most people just want to get from their part of the city to the centre and back again.

We lived a bit further out of the city, so couldn't get the £8.50 use any bus within the city as much as you like ticket, and had only the option of the £17 travel anywhere in the South East as much as you like ticket.

Most people don't want to travel round half the country for a week, they just want to get into town and back without spending half the shopping budget on bus fares! Especially since all the services all link up so poorly you'd spend the whole day waiting for buses anyway if you were foolhardy enough to attempt a tour of the South East by bus.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 26-Jun-14 12:33:44

Bus companie should just charge everyone £1 when they embark, regardless of how many stops they stay on for. £1 every time you get on a bus.

Yanbu!! When you privatise things that's what happens though. IMO the state should own all public transport and should charge cost price plus a nominal amount so they don't run at a loss.

Tanith Thu 26-Jun-14 12:31:28

Sorry - should say that one or two towns fought to keep public ownership. Reading is one of them.

Tanith Thu 26-Jun-14 12:29:48

They were all privatised in the 80s under Mrs. Thatcher's government. I remember them telling us how it would increase competition and lower fares... hmm

larry5 Thu 26-Jun-14 12:27:27

Where I live the local big town has park and ride. You have to pay per passenger so if there is more than one of you it costs much less to park in town as a return ticket is £3.20 per person and the car park is £3.10 for two hours. If they really want you to leave your car at the p & r it would be better to charge per car rather than per person. This is what happens at the Cardiff p & r.

badtime Thu 26-Jun-14 12:20:48

This is the one thing where London is much cheaper. Integrated transport, density of modes and routes, free travel for children (and free bus for up to 15 y.o.) mean that public transport does work out cheaper there for the most part. And, of course, the congestion charge makes driving more expensive.

offtoseethewizard64 Thu 26-Jun-14 12:08:14

I've lived here for 20 yrs and have never used the bus. It takes too long to get where it is going - think 1 1/2 hrs to nearest large town against 30mins in car. It is also expensive.
DS uses the bus to get to 6th form. I bought him an annual student pass but the bus is so unreliable that if he needs to guarantee getting there by 9.00 for an exam or a trip then he either has to go on the train (arriving way too early forking out more fares) or I have to drive him there. Yesterday I had to take him and collect him at both ends of the day as his coach trip was leaving at 9.00 (and he was worried he would miss it if he went on the public service bus) and he returned at 8.00pm - by which time the buses have stopped running.
So it isn't just the expense that 'drives' people into their cars.

Trapper Thu 26-Jun-14 12:07:46

I live in London Z4 and commute to Z1. My wife and I both have annual season tickets and it is cheaper than owning a car and paying for petrol. London to Isle of Wight return £50 for us both plus two toddlers including the cost of the ferry - much cheaper than driving...

MostlyCake Thu 26-Jun-14 12:01:40

Oh and can i just add the two buses are different operators so it would be two lots of season tickets or multi journey tickets which would be massively expensive.

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