I hope that everyone had a nice weekend – I had a great time tackling the crowds in central London for Chinese New Year – it was absolutely chaotic! There were queues to get into every single restaurant! I haven’t seen that many people since London New Year’s Eve 2010! Got a short post today weighing up the pros and cons of transport.
In summer of last year I graduated and my wife and I moved to London. Having studied in a relatively small city and grown up in an even smaller one, I was very much accustomed to quick and cheap transport. When we first moved south, we had to find somewhere to rent pretty quickly and couldn’t afford to be too fussy with the location. We work an hour away from home, in entirely different directions, so car sharing is NOT practicle – especially in the morning traffic.
Our current arrangements involve me getting dropped off at the train station every day by my wife on her way to work. She has an 80 mile round trip, while I get the train, followed by a bus to the office. The costs are as follows:
Train: £8.90 per day = £44.50 per week (approx $71)
Petrol for the car = approx £50 ($80) per week
Given that there are more than 4 weeks in an average month, let’s say that our fuel/train costs are approximately £400 per month ($640) In addition to this, there is obviously road tax/ maintenance and car insurance which is approximately another £100 ($160) bringing the grand total to £500 ($800) per month!!!
While these costs are extremely high, there is not really anyway to reduce them. Car sharing is not possible for either of us, as our working hours can be extremely varied; depending on what needs to be done. Our commuting costs actually may be set to increase shortly when we move into our new house.
This brings about my predicament:
The train from our new house would cost £13.50 ($22) per day with a railcard (outrageously priced operator).
This works out at £67.50 ($108) per week. Unfortunately my wife’s offices are not on the same train line and train travel would take 2 hours.
Cost of buying a new car:
I would first add that new cars and sporty cars do not interest me whatsoever. While I would obviously love to drive one if I got it for free, I simply cannot justify spending 10s of thousands of pounds/dollars on a car.
A conservative estimate of a ised car with approx 70000 miles is roughly £1000. I can pick up a car with a years tax and MOT for this price.
If we break down these costs over a year (I am not expecting the car to last too long without repairs for the purpose of my decision) we are left with:
£83 ($133) cost of car
£160 ($255) cost of petrol
£35 ($56) cost of insurance
£278 ($445) total
Over a year this is going to cost me approx.
If we compare this to £67.50 per week for train costs and multiply this by the true number of work days:
105 weekend days
9 public holidays
25 days paid holiday
Leaves: 227 work days
Total – £3064 ($4900)
So it is cheaper to get the train than buy a car by approximately £300. This however does not consider two important factors:
The train plus bus to office from station takes almost 90 minutes. Driving takes only 40 minutes. By buying a car this would save me 100 minutes everyday. The extra costs of Car v Train are a little over £1 a day. My time is worth more than this!
By having a car I have flexibility.
Therefore my decision is made. I will be searching for a cheap car! Wish me luck.