Andrew Briggs, Fire Safety Manager & Environment Adviser at the University of Kent, writes about the benefits of a commute via public transport.
I live near Dover. Today the fuel cost for using my car (a very economical one) calculates to a sobering £6.25. That includes a couple of extra miles to avoid clogging up the centre of Canterbury in the afternoon rush hour. The Stagecoach Dayrider ticket is £7.30 but they have a great deal on their app for 10 flexible tickets, bringing the bus fare down to £4.97. And that figure for using my car doesn’t include other mileage-dependent costs like servicing, tyres, extra depreciation and those unpredictable repair bills from time to time.
I’ve been waiting for better deals on public transport for many years, and sometimes pushed our Sustainability and Transport teams on this, but now the incentive is there – and by a large margin! Of course this is partly due to spiralling fuel costs recently, and bus fares are likely to go up too, but I doubt the cost comparison will reverse itself.
And as well as the obvious big-picture win for sustainability, there are other benefits. I’ll admit that a lengthy period without a car recently and having to use the bus has opened my eyes. Sure, my journey takes an extra 25 minutes at each end of the day, but I haven’t missed them. On the contrary – without the constantly attentive and at times wearing task of driving through traffic, I’ve found the bus ride a great space in which to relax, where my mind can idle and decompress. Or conversely, sometimes it’s been a welcome ‘time out’ for more expansive thinking about work or other issues, which I’ve found really helpful. Whatever’s needed on a given day. I’ve found it an unexpected and significant boost to my wellbeing.
So – what’s not to like? I can still use my car occasionally for work in future, but only if I really need to – why throw money away? I’d urge anyone to try switching too!