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To think that no-one will choose to swap cars for public transport when it's still easier / cheaper / faster to drive?

(353 Posts)
BogstandardBelle Fri 08-Mar-19 16:20:42

Since starting a new job 18 months ago I have used public transport to get there and back 3 days a week. I leave my house, walk 10 minutes to the metro, spend around 20 minutes on the metro with one change in between, then walk around 15 minutes at the other end to arrive at work. I always assumed that (living in a big busy city) it was cheaper and easier to travel this way and never really considered driving.

This morning I needed to take some heavy bags into work, so I decided to drive. I left around 15 minutes later than usual and still arrived at the same time! And I didn't need to walk anywhere or share my space with hundreds of coughing / sneezing / inconsiderate / odd people en route. The cost was negligible compared to the 64 euros I spend each month on a metro ticket.

I'm really disappointed! I know that the exercise is good for me, and god knows the air pollution problem in my city doesn't need yet another single occupancy, short distance car journey being added to it. But it was so much easier / more pleasant than using public transport... and now I know how easy it was, there's going to be a little voice saying "just take the car...".

So it is unreasonable to expect people to give up their cars when public transport is actually more expensive, less convenient and overall harder work than driving? I used to think that all the motorists clogging up the roads / causing the pollution were BU, but now I'm not so sure.

PinkBuffalo Fri 08-Mar-19 16:23:16

I agree. I dislike driving and would love to get public transport to work etc. but it turns a 35 minute drive into a 2-3hr stressful journey with lots of changes between busses/trains.

HomeMadeMadness Fri 08-Mar-19 16:24:58

I used to think that all the motorists clogging up the roads / causing the pollution were BU, but now I'm not so sure.

But this doesn't make sense. Did you think they were BU because they were inconveniencing themselves or because they were polluting and contributing to congestion? The latter surely still stands and the former would be their own business.

Surely it's a balance. I walk on the school run in all weathers despite it being quicker and easier to drive. I take the train to the nearest town which is more expensive and slightly longer and less convenient (as there's a walk on each end) but I wouldn't do a journey that was going to be massively difficult or more expensive by public transport.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 08-Mar-19 16:27:37

YANBU. Rather than whinge at people who don't want to spend over an hour on two busses when they could drive in 20 minutes it's better to campaign for more public transport so it becomes the better option for more people.

InDubiousBattle Fri 08-Mar-19 16:28:56

I live in a village about a half an hour walk from the nearest small town, it takes 7 minutes on the bus. It costs £2.50 one way for me and £1.25 for my 5 year old, £4.30 and £2.20 for a day pass. A taxi is £4 so 25p more one way. If thereis more than one adult getting the bus makes no sense at all. I don't drive so have little choice but YANBU, for short journeys buses are very expensive!

BogstandardBelle Fri 08-Mar-19 16:29:09


I meant, before I tried it myself I assumed that for most of the drivers, their commute would actually be easier / cheaper / faster on public transport and that they were choosing the comfort of the car journey nonetheless. Now it occurs to me that maybe it genuinely is easier / cheaper / faster for them to travel by car and that's why they do it!

SnuggyBuggy Fri 08-Mar-19 16:30:55

I think this day pass crap is what makes busses too expensive. How many of us actually want to do multiple journeys back and forth by bus?

FooFighter99 Fri 08-Mar-19 16:32:25

I can't do public transport as I get horrendously travel sick envy not envy

Rrxox Fri 08-Mar-19 16:41:58

I get really sick on public transport too, better on a train but that’s more because there’s a toilet so I think my brain lets me relax about chucking my lunch up somewhere private.. not in someone’s space.
Literally I can travel for hours in a car and 30 minutes is almost my limit for a bus, with sea bands/mints/headphones.

We’re also semi rural, so our buses go through everywhere and it’s dogs home town, making a 15 minute drive 45 minutes by going round schemes and up off the main route. (Understandably people live there too). But it’s probably more eco friendly if the 50 people got the bus rather than drove individually.

I know my dm’s work does a lift share incentive, so rather than 50 individual cars (I’ve picked a random number I’ll stick with it) 10 cars of 5 might be what ideally shows up.

The cost depends on your car too, dm’s cheaper than public transport but she’s in a small 1l with peanuts for insurance and tax. Obviously if you were in a gigantic Chelsea tractor with expensive insurance public transports probably cheaper.. then there’s parking/wear n tear.

roses2 Fri 08-Mar-19 16:43:59

I had an allocated car parking spot at my previous job but choose the train which took the same time door to door as it was just more relaxing. Everyone is different. I hate driving as I can’t mumsnet whereas I can when I am on the train smile

ivykaty44 Fri 08-Mar-19 16:44:02

Storing cars is the problem for many and the cost.

Just look at the hospitals with everyone driving round and round in circles as there is nowhere to park.

If there was decent quick reliable cheap alternatives then would people take the car?

I’m lucky as I walk to work or cycle, but this morning needed to drive and had to leave earlier than if I walk... which is frankly ridiculous that it takes longer to drive

I’d rather cycle for free and it’s much quicker, I park right outside and never have a problem finding a space

My colleague gets the bus and says the driver constantly complains about all the drivers in cars lugging sofas about, how many drivers have 4empty seats

Backwoodsgirl Fri 08-Mar-19 16:50:46

Public transport would never be practical for us. We need a pickup truck to haul equipment and firewood etc.

Self driving cars would also be a no go as we travel a significant distance off road.

ivykaty44 Fri 08-Mar-19 16:52:05

Backswoodgirl do you find parking in a town a problem? Or is it always easy to find a space?

BeanTownNancy Fri 08-Mar-19 16:53:12

YANBU. I live in a "new" city with infrastructure and layout which was designed to facilitate good public transport. And yet, in order to get a bus to work (where my son's nursery also is), I would have to get at least 2 buses and it would take me over half an hour, with 20 minutes of that walking. It takes 40 minutes to walk the whole way. It takes 7 minutes in the car. The price of the bus is almost as much as a taxi. It's ridiculous.

duckling84 Fri 08-Mar-19 16:55:46

If I was to get the bus it would take an hour (2 buses) and cost £5 a day. I drive, it takes 20minutes and costs about £2 a day in petrol.
It's a no brainer really.

EggysMom Fri 08-Mar-19 16:58:14

I could walk to the tram, ride the tram for ten minutes (£4odd), and walk at the other end to get to work. It would take forty minutes.

I could take my car, I get free parking at the office. It takes about 15 minutes.

The only reason I walk / tram / walk is because it gives me a little bit of exercise. There's no 'minimising pollution and saving-the-earth" thoughts going through my head. If it's raining, I use the car!

Purpleartichoke Fri 08-Mar-19 16:59:44

I tried to use public transit to get to work. I even lucked out and a new train line opened up that ran right near my home and office. In theory it should have been faster and easier than driving. It was not. I had to deal with the weather walking too and from the station and in work attire that was especially problematic. The trains were always crowded and overheated. If I had to get home late, I didn’t feel entirely safe on the walk home. It was so much easier to sit in my air conditioned car and travel door to door, even if it meant sitting in traffic. I also didn’t have to worry about motion sickness when I drove.

If public transit is really going to be a viable option it needs to be comfortable. That means seats for everyone and lots of fresh, cooled air at all times.

Sosayi Fri 08-Mar-19 17:00:17

There is no way I would get car up my car
You would have to drag me screaming and kicking
Even on short journeys it’s still quicker to take my car than use unrealiable public transport

Vulpine Fri 08-Mar-19 17:00:40

Cycling beats car and public transport.

Onetraumaatatimeplease Fri 08-Mar-19 17:03:37

I certainly won't use public transport over my car. I haven't had a car since January (RIP Zola) and have used buses. Firstly it's expensive (especially if I have one or more kids with me) even for a short journey. Secondly they either don't arrive or they turn up on masse. Thirdly, despite the fact that shops and stuff are open on Sunday the bus companies still run a skeleton service.

Yearofchange Fri 08-Mar-19 17:05:41

YANBU. I have commuted on public transport for years, started a new job and it is cheaper by half to drive in, takes 2/3rds the time it would on public transport and I’m no longer getting soaked or really tired (was 40 mins walking + public transport each way), or having to cope with train cancellations and delays on a weekly basis making me late to work. The only thing I’m missing is the fresh air and exercise. Sooo over public transport commuting! Until we have reliable and affordable services I don’t think I’ll go back.

LakieLady Fri 08-Mar-19 17:05:50

I live 2 miles from the town centre, and feel a bit guilty about taking the car to go shopping or to the doctors. But our buses are only once an hour, on average, and sometimes the interval is 90 minutes, and I can never remember what the bus times are.

Whenever I think about getting the bus, I've invariably j ust missed one, so I drive. Plus, the bus is £3.50 return and even if I'm not doing supermarket shopping and using their free car park, parking for an hour is only £1, so it's cheaper to drive.

lharris1 Fri 08-Mar-19 17:06:15

I commute to Birmingham and west midland trains are awful, only 2 per hour (that’s with no delays/cancellations etc)

Also, during rush hour it’s packed like sardines and the train only has 3 carriages. What angers me is that I know they can get trains with 5 carriages (often at off peak times) but only the 3 carriage trains are used when it’s busy confused

I end up feeling sweaty and dirty before work thanks to the sardine conditions

PinkiOcelot Fri 08-Mar-19 17:06:56

Totally agree. I was without a car a couple of months ago so got the bus to work. I had to leave the house for a certain time, whereas I normally leave when I’m ready. Walk to the bus stop. Stand at the bus stop in the rain (started raining just as I got there). Got on the bus, standing room room only for £3.80!
Got to work feeling totally harassed and damp. Never again!

HighestMountains Fri 08-Mar-19 17:11:46

YANBU. It becomes especially expensive when you look at several people travelling cross country. My DM lives 3 hours away. Costs about £50 in petrol to drive me, DH and our 2 DC there and back. The train would be £50 per adult and half that per child, so £150. Yes, you can get railcards, so let's call it £100 to be generous. But then you need to add on a taxi at each end, both ways, as we all live rurally, so it's £160 again. And yes, you can get advance tickets, but I don't think that's a fair like for like comparison as I don't gave to decide to the minute months in advance exactly when I'm going to leave the house to embark on my journey.

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