I’m not going to pretend getting the train to work is fun. Joining the rugby style scrum to secure a seat, only to then have someone kneeing you in the back whilst you are ‘comfortably’ seated isn’t the greatest way to start the week, and that’s if there are no delays!
On the plus side it gives me the time to write my blog, catch up with emails, Facebook, twitter, and, heck, sometimes sleep. Occasionally I can even be found devouring the pages of a lovely novel or glossy fashion magazine on my daily commute.
But the real advantage? Cost. I commute 30 miles each way to my day job. If I drove I’d be looking at shelling out for road tax; insurance; MOTs, services & repairs; petrol and parking. My old car had got to the age where it needed things doing to it, had I of upgraded to a newer model I would have also been looking at HP costs on a new(er) pap, pap. I reckon motoring related costs if I drove to work would set me back approximately £5k per year. Granted some of the reason for that is because parking costs in the town where I work are so astronomically high.
In contrast, I spend less than £700 per year by using a combination of shoe leather and public transport. Which is why I sold my car just over a year ago. The money from the sale came in useful to pay off some debts, put some into savings and, let’s be honest, spend some too.
There are some downsides to being car free. If I want to go anywhere on weekends when Love of my Life is at work I’m back on the trains. I try to avoid buses as much as possible, trains aren’t great but they’re better than buses! If I want to go somewhere off the beaten track I have to take a cab, although I think that’s only happened twice since I sold my car. Admittedly you lose the spontaneity you have with a car, but I think that disappears a bit with age anyway (I don’t know about you but the days of calling a friend to see if they fancy a sneaky school night Cidermaster have long since been replaced with trying to synchronise free diary dates).
Likewise when the trains are delayed for the umpteenth time that week it’s easy to wish you had the four wheels back. Then you remember those pesky traffic jams on the motorway and suddenly the train doesn’t seem so bad.
Granted, it wouldn’t work for everyone I’m very fortunate that I live a five-minute walk from the town centre and train station. Love of my life has a car so is able to play taxi man as required (I am trying to get used to driving his car but I’m struggling with not making the car come to a sudden halt when I simply want to slow down). I’m lucky to live close to my family and have understanding friends who don’t mind driving to see me, or picking me up.
Question is…would swapping the road map for a train timetable save you money?