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To think that public transport should be the cheaper option?

(67 Posts)
KirjavaTheCat Thu 26-Jun-14 09:22:35

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?

ElizabethMedora Thu 26-Jun-14 11:01:18


It really drives me mad. Also the de regulation of services everywhere except London so that I have to choose between different providers & stick to that no matter which bus comes first if I want to get a return/day saver hmm

Oldraver Thu 26-Jun-14 11:06:11

Has public transport ever been cheaper in recent years than taking your car ?

I am still reeling from 6 years ago it costing me nearly £12 to get to the hospital 19 miles away, and taking almost the hours to get home

Callani Thu 26-Jun-14 11:06:55

What frustrates me the most is that the PTB always tell us to use public transport because it's so environmentally friendly and cheap - who blinking well for?

Public transport is far more expensive, takes longer and is way more inconvenient than popping in a car (or when possible getting on my bike) and let's be honest, very few people would choose to spend nearly a tenner on a return bus journey if they had any other option.

weatherall Thu 26-Jun-14 11:08:05

I drive hundreds of miles across the UK because it's cheaper than the train.

It's ridiculous!

lljkk Thu 26-Jun-14 11:08:08

Wear and tear costs* are typically 1.5x as much as what you paid for petrol/diesel, if anyone wants a rule of thumb. So if it cost you £10 in petrol the total driving cost is probably £25 (=£10 + £15).

Plus most of us have to pay for parking & get health benefits from bit of extra walking to use public transport and in saved pollution/environmental damage which we also benefit from (but super difficult to calculate that benefit for individuals). Personally I find train+cycling easy & driving very stressful on my work journey, so it's worth it for savings in stress to take the train.

*not including depreciation or fixed costs like MOT-VED-insurance. I suspect 15p/mile is an ok rule of thumb for depreciation on cars 3-8 yrs old but it's highly highly variable.

Stinkle Thu 26-Jun-14 11:09:30

I've just had a mooch online and found this AA running cost calculator

OK, it's not an exact science but looking at it as an average my car costs me 41.79 per mile

My trip into town is 4 miles each way - £3.35
Parking (although parking is included in the AA's calculations I've added it anyway) - £1.80 for 2 hours

Costs me £5.15

Bus - £4.25 each way - Total £8.50

Add the fact that our buses are extremely infrequent and very unreliable and I am restricted to travelling at times that may not be particularly convenient, I then have to walk 20 minutes to/from my nearest bus stop, possibly with heavy bags so getting the bus is not an attractive prospect.

If all 4 of us go into town
2 adults @ £8.50 - £17.00
2 kids (half fare) - £8.50
Total - £25.50

Cost in the car - still £5.15

Last year our local council ran a big campaign encouraging people to dump the car and use the bus - it flopped, big style. And they wondered why

Xcountry Thu 26-Jun-14 11:10:57

In truth, even if it were cheaper I wouldn't use it, Its inconvenient, slow and full of the public!!! I like in a village that is regularly cut off in winter by massive snowfall, the 'regular bus service is every hour and a half during the day to every two an a half hours till half 8 at night and sundays.

Bus service is cancelled in snow and ice because we are at the top of a hill along a B road and its too dangerous. I don't drive a petrol - I drive a diesel, much cheaper, and I have a truck not a car. Massive boot space, all weather travel and plenty space for 4 kids and me with no one standing or having to give up their seat.

beccajoh Thu 26-Jun-14 11:11:02

To get the train to my parents (an hour drive) costs £35 return, or a tenner in diesel. I find it baffling that it costs so much.

Stinkle Thu 26-Jun-14 11:13:32

Sorry, it should say

my car costs me 41.79 pence per mile

Kikaninchen Thu 26-Jun-14 11:30:06

I agree, where we used to live cost £4.50 return in to town. I used to get the bus on my own, but if there were two of us going, it made no sense to get the bus - we could park for 4 hours for free on a quiet residential street a couple of minutes walk from the town centre, so much cheaper. And no hanging around wondering when the bus was going to turn up - it was seldom on time, and often just failed to show up altogether.
There was so little incentive to get the bus, and I am a massive supporter of public transport.

Olga79 Thu 26-Jun-14 11:47:14

My car costs me somewhere around 25p per mile to run all in.

Sorting the fare structures out would help, if I buy a ticket Nottingham to Birmingham it costs �35.50 but if I buy a ticket to Long Eaton and then a ticket from there to Birmingham it costs �22.40 to travel on exactly the same trains.

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 26-Jun-14 11:48:03

The main thing is most of us own cars and are paying tax, insurance and depreciation whether we use public transport or not.

Modern engines will do a 100,000 miles without blinking, exhausts, clutches and breaks all last far longer than on my first cars, so wear and tear is massively less of an issue than it once was.

My car eats tyres, but that's our bus less awful lanes as much as long journeys.

Thus the relevant considerations are the cost of fuel, parking and convenience.

ScarlettDragon Thu 26-Jun-14 11:51:59

YANBU. Whem me, DH and 2 dds go into the city centre we can either get the bus at a cost of £15 there and back for the 4 of us or pay £4 for all day parking! It would actually be cheaper to get taxis there and back than get the bus!

MostlyCake Thu 26-Jun-14 11:58:28

Totally agree with everyone above. I'd much prefer to get the bus but it's just not economical both in cost or time. I do live quite away from my work to be fair but the public transport system is not even slowly joined up where I live so I'd need to take 2 buses plus a car ode totthe bus stop which would be a round trip of around 2.5 hrs a day. Add into this the in frequency of buses to my work (in a uni campus so not somewhere that not many people would want to travel to) then I could have a total travel time of over 3 hours a day and would have to be out of the house before 7 each day. I'd never see the baby and my husband would essentially be a single parent Monday - Friday as his job is closer to the house. Taking the car reduces the travel time to around one hour watch way, less if I don't hit traffic and I can come and go whenever I please.

I do feel terribly guilty sitting alone in my car and not being able to car share but can't see any other realistic option. I do work at home for half the week which I think offsets my driving but this shouldn't be the only alternative!

zoemaguire Thu 26-Jun-14 11:58:38

Yup yup yup! It costs us 4 quid for an adult to get the bus to town and back, 2.50 for kids, and we live...half a mile away. With three DC that would be 15 pounds, for a one mile journey!!!! Normally we never ever use the bus, obviously, but was recently forced to a lot what with pregnancy SPD. Never again - totally bonkers.

MostlyCake Thu 26-Jun-14 11:59:20

Oh dear. Apologies for typos...

MostlyCake Thu 26-Jun-14 12:00:37

I also think it's crackers that parents have to pay for children to take the bus to school. I didn't have to pay when i went to school!

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

JazzAnnNonMouse Thu 26-Jun-14 12:32:04

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.

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