Alternative routes around London commuting spend


Sian Morten now cycles to save on commuting costs

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Fares are only going one way at the moment. Up.

There is a trend now for authorities to move the burden of public transport away from general taxation and the taxpayer, and more onto the fare payer.

A lot of people can't escape those increases but there is some evidence that some are.

I asked Full Fact, the independent fact-checking group, to find out what has happened to transport costs over the last decade. It makes very interesting reading.

It found that since 2002 average rail fares have increased by 60% and bus fares have risen by 66%.

However, pay hasn't kept up. It has increased by 32% over the same period and now the average annual wage in London is £34,900.

More pertinently perhaps, as proportion of household income, transport spend has actually stayed fairly static.

Cheaper commute?

In 2001 on average £61 was spent each week on transport - 12.3% of household income.

By 2011, that weekly spend had risen to £67 a week - but only 11.6% of household income.

Of course, there is no such thing as an average commuter or family, but there could be a number of reasons why spend as a proportion of household income has stayed pretty flat.

Rail ticket and coins Household spend on weekly travel has remained static

Some commuters like Sian Morten, who I interviewed for a BBC London news report, have switched to cycling as it's cheaper.

There has also been a rise in concessions over the last decade. Home working and off-peak travel may have played a part.

It could also be the case that leisure travel is one of the the first things to go when reining in the household budget.

Not everyone can juggle their transport costs, but there is some evidence that some people are.

I'd be interested to hear from commuters who have found cheaper ways to get around other than cycling.

Tom Edwards, Transport correspondent, London Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    As a student at university in central London, I cycled EVERYWHERE. Sometimes I'd cycle home for lunch, I'd cycle to the shops, museum girlfriends,etc

    I learnt the streets of London, kept fit, and most importantly saved money - which I later spent on beer.

    I cycled out of necessity and for fun. I'd love to add cycling to my commute to work, but it's too far, and the train too convenient right now

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I've bought a little car. After the initial expenditure it is cheaper on a weekly basis to run than paying for bus and train fares.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Were it not for the danger, I would love to cycle to work in London. The problem - by sheer density of traffic - is that even the most conscientious of cyclists amongst even the most considerate of drivers are taking their life in their hands.

    Not for the first time, I have envied the Dutch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I cycled to work in London from 1986-87 and then again between 1992-2012. I must have saved thousands (as well as a lot of peace of mind) by not using public transport for work, though I did use it for occasional journeys.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I avoid the tube because it is too expensive. I get the bus more often, walk from the soho to home in Canada Water taking 2 hours. I didn't realise for pay-as-you-go there are 2 rush hours & you get stung from 4pm-7pm as well. So I avoid using public transport during those times. The prices of tube travel is far too expensive. Travel on public transport really is becoming a luxury in London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I am now of the age when I have a Bus Pass but live outside the London boundary. I have a choice of 2 railways stations but I walk 20 minutes to the furthest one as that saves me circa £35 a month because the stations are in different zones. I also catch a bus from Waterloo and use my bus pass instead of the tube which saves me another £35 per month.



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