The price of driving is more than the cost to our planet

Posted On 23 Aug 2019 at 9:30 am

What motivates you more – cash or climate change? Or to put it another way, if you have a car, what would persuade you to give it up and use public transport, walk or cycle instead?

It is a question I put to a car driver recently who told me he was concerned about the environment.

He was quick to respond that he rarely used his car these days, except for a regular journey to Hastings that was awkward by public transport.

It got me thinking. Journeys across country, with children or lots of stuff can be tricky by bus or train.

But we need to get large numbers of people out of their cars to reduce our carbon emissions. It would also clear the roads making bus journeys quicker.

More people on buses could mean more buses and a better service in outlying areas or across country.

Cyclists would be safer, encouraging more people to cycle and everyone could get fitter.

It sounds like a win-win and, with one of the lowest car ownerships in the UK, many in our city have already been convinced, but we still have a way to go.

I gave up my car in 2003 because when I added up the cost per journey, I realised that even if I took taxis or hired a car for those awkward journeys I would still save a small fortune.

So, if we want to create mass change in transport use, should we appeal to people through their pockets?

The most recent survey I could find on the annual cost of a car was from June 2018. It revealed the average UK motorist was spending £162 a month, excluding finance payments.

Factor in a loan and the cost shot up to £388. As one journalist put it, that’s nearly £2,000 to put a roof over your head and drive to work.

By comparison joining a car share scheme is £60 a year plus £4.95 an hour – great for the occasional journey or day out.

An annual bus pass is £635, a 30-minute daily ride on Brighton Bikeshare is £72 and walking is free.

Whichever option you choose over your car, there are significant savings to be made and you will be doing your bit towards saving the planet.

Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    The hypocrisy of Nancy Platts and the current labour lot is astonishing. I used to vote for them on the basis of what I believed to be sincere pledges to look out for both residents and the environment but never again.

    Nancy talks of the cost benefits of public transport for the rest of us while keeping it cheap for her and her council chums to keep on driving. She had the option of stopping councillors getting 90% discounts in the Norton Road carpark and spend the money on services for resident but instead thought the bourgeois momentum lot should get their car based handout – baffling.

  2. Rolivan Reply

    Cllr Platts,why did you not mention the cost of Train Travel?
    The Go-Ahead Group have a virtual monopoly on travel throughout the South East and are more than a third owned by a French Company which charges its passengers 2 euros to travel a single journey throughout any one departement.So like most of our Utilities we are subsidising Foreign Companies.

  3. Lewis Searle Reply

    Well this is hypocrisy at its best from our council leader once again.

    You voted twice recently to retain your free parking perks as a councillor. But yet continue to use your column inches to make yourself look better.

  4. dr. nue pop Reply

    “….save a small fortune.” nonsense … keep the car, but stop buying useless stuff …

  5. Not a fan Reply

    People with limited mobility, families with loads of stuff to transport, people taking stuff to recycle at the tip… many reasons to need a car it’s not a luxury for some. I would cycle if I could be sure I wasn’t going to have a serious accident trying to navigate all the flipping potholes on the roads which are a disgrace !

  6. not a fan 2 Reply

    Sort the roads for cycling first. Hove to Shoreham – by-sea it is not safe road to cycle. And how about when it`s windy or raining – you get fitter madam.
    My car including MOT, parking permit, petrol and annual service cost me 1000£ per year (20£ per week). Public transport will cost me 31£ per week and triple the time I am spending. Let`s stop talking and start doing something really voluble, clean the streets for example, make sure rubbish collectors are doing their job. Have you seen Hove streets – disgusting. So please, leave drivers alone and do you job.

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