Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Curse of the Commuter

So back to work today with a bang, it was like I was never away, but only worse.  I have a job where the work just piles up irrespective if I am there or not, so I came back after my 4 day break to 321 new e-mails and an in-tray resembling the leaning tower of Pisa, coupled with my phone not stopping all day as the news soon spread I was back, anyone would have thought I was indispensable ;) – I know I’m not I just wish some others would realise J  So my day instead of being 12 hours long (including commute) was today 14 hours long and will probably be the same for the rest of this and next week whilst I catch up.  I always seem to pay the price for any leave that I take that I sometimes think is it worth taking it? 
Apologies for my grumbling it’s been one of those days – so back to the commute.  We are a household of 2 with 2 cars and I hate this fact, not only is it financially expensive but environmentally unsound as well.  We have one car loan, the other car is paid for (but was bought via a loan as well) and our joint annual car costs come to a staggering £9750 per annum.  So let’s embark upon the old car versus public transport dilemma.  We have to have 2 cars there is no getting around it unfortunately, hubby works unsociable hours when public transport is often not running a service, so he needs a car.  I also need a car (which I use purely for commuting to work and back, we always use hubbys car at weekends / holidays etc), I really wish I didn’t, I wish I could instead use public transport, (let the train take the strain as the old adverts used to say) mainly because my current commute is 3 hours per day which is incrediably tiring and the thought of sitting comfortably, reading a book whilst travelling to work really appeals. 
However my decision to drive is completely financially driven.  Whilst my car costs are high, public transport costs beat them hands down and if I was to get rid of my car and take public transport our annual transport costs would rise from £9750 to £13470.05 (yikes). 
Based upon a 5 work day week and working 47 weeks per year, the daily cost (petrol, tax, insurance, annual service/MOT) currently comes to £20.97 (so the first 2.5 hours (net) in any one day I work pays for my travelling costs (sigh).   However the bus and train fares (one bus and two trains to get to work) come to a return cost of £36.80 per day and would equate to the first 4 hours (net) that I work in any one day paying for travelling, as I am only officially paid to work 7 hours 24 mins (I always work more unpaid), it would be more financially sound to just pack in work and go on benefits. 
So whilst I would love get rid of my car, it is financially unviable and that is such a shame.  In a bid to be a bit more environmentally and financially sound, I have registered on car sharing websites but no-one would be foolish enough to live where I live and work where I work so no luck on that front thus far.  My friend who lives in Italy travels by train each day a similar length of journey that I would have to take for just 2 per day return.  Whilst public transport fares are so high in this country we will never use it in the same way our cousins on the Continent do and regrettably the car will remain king unless you happen to live in a major metropolis such as London.    

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