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Ways To Combat Rising Commuting Costs

by Jim ONeil on January 14, 2011

in Personal Finance News

The new year has brought with it a six to 13 percent increase in train fares across England. Popular commuting routes have been most heavily affected, with a Canterbury to London trip experiencing a 12.7 percent increase in season prices. There are several things that affected commuters can do to deal with the rising costs of commuting.

Even at the new higher prices, a season ticket remains the most inexpensive option. It equates to the cost of a daily off-peak return during 47 weeks of the year. Commuters should be aware that a season ticket does not need to be purchased for a 12-month period. Those who know they may have an interruption in commuting due to a long holiday should plan accordingly.

Cycling to work represents a low-cost and eco-friendly alternative to the train. The Cycle to Work program allows commuters to save as much as 50 percent on the cost of a bike if their employers are enrolled in the program. Commuters select their bike from an approved supplier, the employer purchases the bike, and the employer reclaims the VAT. The commuter leases the bike from the employer, repaying with pre-tax dollars.

Parking fees at train stations have also increased, so commuters should explore cycling, walking, or taking the bus to the station. If there is no feasible alternative to driving, they should try to find a cheaper parking location. Those who commute infrequently will not pay as much for parking and they can also save money by purchasing a carnet train ticket rather than a season ticket.

Remember the railcard when taking a train ride because this card offers one-third off regular travel costs. Train riders who are over age 60, under age 25, or travel regularly with children are eligible. The Family & Friends card allows the rider to get 60 percent off children’s fares. Each card costs £26, paying for itself in about two trips.

Rich

Interesting points. My take is that there will be an opportunity for cities to capitalize on commuting costs and demographics trending toward those who prefer urban living. The extent to which that happens is largely dependant upon how well cities cater to those preferences.

How many cities have effective mass transit beyond the few that are always mentioned? Of those that don't, is there sufficient demographic sway to get the approvals for the capital expenditure and disruption of the existing areas through which new transit lines will travel.

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