Nobody likes commuting; whether it entails squishing onto a cold and crowded bus, finding yourself nestled in the luggage compartment of a train, or sat at a standstill in the comfort of your own car. Not only is it a miserable use of our time, potentially adding hours to our working days, it’s getting even more expensive with the rise of fuel prices. Commuting is the one thing millions of us agree we – and our wallets- could do without.
If only there were a way to make your commute quicker, cheaper – and perhaps even a little more fun, too? As it happens, there is.
The Driving Dilemma
Despite huge leaps forward for bus, tram and rail provision across the UK in recent years, research suggests the car is still king. In the Government’s latest transport survey[i], 84% of British adults said they use a private car to get about at least once a week, with a whopping 68% of people saying they use a vehicle three or more times a week. Indeed, a recent report[ii] revealed 50% of all those eligible to drive themselves to work do so.
And with the population ever-growing; that only means more cars on the road, bigger traffic jams and longer commutes. 53% of Motorists claimed that they have noticed the time it takes them to drive to work had increased – and data from the Trade Union Congress backs them up, suggesting the average commute increased from 52 minutes to 55 minutes in the decade up to 2014.
What’s more, a survey carried out by our team here at Inchcape found that journeying to work by car was costing a lone driver an average of £38.72 per week, and upwards of £50 in certain towns and cities. With insurance premiums climbing and the price of oil back on the rise, the costs involved with driving yourself to work only look set to grow.
So, what’s the solution?
The answer? Car Share!
While 18.6 million Brits drive alone each morning and evening, some 12.3 million share a ride.
The concept of car sharing is nothing new, but it’s really come into its own as congestion and pollution levels hit record highs.
It’s pretty simple. Rather than two, three or even four of you driving yourselves to work, you club together in one car and take it in turns to be the designated driver throughout the week and split the expenses between you. These people you share with may well be colleagues, or perhaps neighbours and friends who commute between a similar A and B as you do – even coupling up with your significant other constitutes car sharing.
You might not think much of it, but you’ll be amazed when we tell you quite how much this car sharing could save you in the long run.
The main reason most people organise a car share is to save money. We conducted a survey to find out the costs associated with driving to work each day around the UK, and calculated the potential savings from sharing a ride.
If UK motorists shared for just two days a week, for a year, they could each cut their costs by £500. That’s the equivalent price of a return flight to the Maldives.
Of course, the cost of driving to work varied significantly across the country. Surprisingly, it was most expensive in Belfast, where commuters are spending an average of £60.50 a week, followed by Plymouth – where drivers were spending £54.15. Slightly less surprisingly, the capital rounded off the top three.
The cheapest place in the UK was Glasgow, where commuters can expect to pay out £25.42 per week, but even then, that amounts to well over a thousand pounds a year.
Take a look at the table below to see how much you could save by sharing a ride with one, two or three others, two or three days a week, for a year.
With such significant savings to be made, there’s a seriously strong case for taking up car sharing, but it’s important to share the responsibility between all parties in your ride-share group.
If saving money is a priority and car sharing won’t quite get you to your savings goal, it could be worth considering a car change. Opting for a used car or doing a part exchange could help you bridge the gap.