Car vs Train

I used to drive nearly everywhere. Two years ago my annual mileage was, according to my MOT certificates, 25,000 miles.  I have now halved that.

The reason is that I have decided not to use my car unless I really have to. 

If I am performing family shows then I need to take the car because of the number of props involved. However, for pretty much everything else I have started to use public transport wherever possible.

I live in Oxford. On average, I travel to London a couple of times per week for meetings at The Magic Circle or for the charity that I work for, ZANE. A few years ago I would always drive in, park in Westfield and then get the tube. I also have local meetings and errands to run. Again, my default position was always to take the car.

However, I have now switched to using public transport – buses and trains – wherever possible.

Apart from the green benefits, I also worked out two hourly rates. First was the hourly rate for my time (see my previous blog post) which worked out at £28/ hour. The next was the hourly rate for my car. 

Car Pay Day, um…

My car computer helpfully provides an average speed (about 35 mph) and an average miles per gallon (about 40 mpg). Using these, plus estimates for depreciation, servicing, etc I worked out the hourly rate for driving my car. It came out at £15 per hour, which was quite a shock! It actually tallies with the Inland Revenue business mileage rate of 45p/mile (35mph x 45p/mile = £15.75 per hour). 

That meant that the 3 hours driving to London and back was costing me £45. And that didn’t include my time. Time driving is time you can’t be working so the calculation became:

My time on the journey: 3 hours, £28 x 3 = £84
Car driving cost: £15 x 3 = £45
Parking = £15
Total = £84 + £45 + £15 = £144

So I looked at the train. 

The Train Gain

With a Network Railcard (£30/ year – bargain, it gives 1/3 off off-peak fares after 10am) an off-peak day return Oxford to London is currently about £18. And you can work on the train – I can probably get a total of 2 hour’s work done during the journey, plus have a nap. So, doing the calculation for the train:

My time on the journey: 4 hours, £28 x 4 = £112
Work time on journey, so redeeming time: 2 hours, £28 x 2 = -£56
Cost of ticket = £18
Total = £112 – £56 + £18 = £74

Do the Math

So that’s £74 by train versus £144 by car. That’s £70 difference, plus it’s less tiring and better for the environment. 

Obviously your situation will be different, but it’s worth doing the sums for your situation.

It’s a no-brainer – become a trainer!

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