Stagecoach has issued a press release pointing out the huge financial gains of ditching a car. CTC and Sustrans pitch in.

Cars are cash sinks, point out bus company and bike orgs

Travelling by bus instead of commuting by car could save drivers more than £1700 a year, according to new research carried out by Stagecoach, the bus company.

The research coincides with other recent studies which show that motoring costs have soared ver the past year. The cost of driving to work has increased by 21 percent over the past 12 months, while the amount of traffic using the country’s roads has dropped as commuters find it increasingly difficult to meet rising motoring costs. 

Stagecoach CEC Sir Brian Souter said: “Rocketing motoring costs and household bills are squeezing living standards for many families across Britain. [Our] survey shows that people can save hundreds of pounds a year by switching from the car to the bus as well as avoiding the stress of being stuck in traffic jams on their way to and from work.” 

Stagecoach surveyed more than 30 commuter routes across its national bus network, from the north of Scotland to the south of England. The study assessed the cost of making the journey daily by car, taking into account only the cost of fuel and parking – no other costs associated with car ownership were included. The survey then compared the motoring cost with the cost of purchasing a weekly multi-journey ticket on Stagecoach buses which can be used for unlimited travel on Stagecoach services within the designated area. 

The results showed that, for each and every route assessed, taking the bus cost significantly less than commuting by car. 
Commuters in the East Midlands could save up to £350 a month by switching to bus travel Bus users travelling between Glenrothes and Edinburgh could be up to £5,000 a year better off than if they travel by car.

Executives from Sustrans and CTC welcomed the findings of the Stagecoach research.

Sustrans’ policy director Jason Torrance said: “Providing regular, reliable and affordable public transport options is a crucial part of giving people the choice to leave their cars behind for everyday journeys, and made even more attractive when integrated with supporting walking and cycling for shorter journeys. 

“With fuel costs increasing, many people are finding themselves in ‘transport poverty’, either unable to access potential jobs, or running a car at the expense of other necessities. Our experience is that when people are provided with cheap, efficient and safe alternatives to the car, they will use them to tackle this often hidden affliction.” 

Chris Peck, policy co-ordinator at CTC, said: “Switching to public transport can save money in certain circumstances, but for shorter commutes you can’t beat a shift to the bike for saving both time and money. In urban areas cycling is often the fastest mode out there.

"At the start of the last recession CTC predicted that rising fuel prices and declining incomes would lead to a shift to cycling – and that’s exactly what’s happened. The latest figures available show that more miles were cycled by bike in Britain in 2010 than at any time in the past 18 years.” 

A survey by Green Flag published in November 2011 found that the cost of driving to work has increased by 21 percent (£229) over the past 12 months. UK motorists spend £243 million every week on driving to and from work.

The RAC’s Annual Cost of Motoring Index, published in November 2011, found insurance costs rose 14.4 compared to the previous year, up to an average of £551. The cost of car insurance was 35 percent higher on average than in 2009. And the average annual cost of owning and running a car soared by 14 percent (£819) to £6,689 per annum over the previous 12 months.

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