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Commuting costs in the UK comprise of regular or season tickets of trains, tubes, buses and coaches. You can also consider expenses incurred on school travel of kids and car sharing as commuting costs.
Train travel in the UK is among the most expensive in Europe. As per a 2013 study, some low-income groups in Birmingham were paying up to 23% of their salaries on train fares. The figure was 19% in Leeds and 16% in Edinburgh.
How to save on train expenses:
In addition to the above, you should check if there are any deals available online. We have listed some sample deals.
As of August 2014, Virgin Trains is offering a deal of £12.50 for a single journey between London and Manchester if you book three weeks in advance. This offer is valid for travelling at any time during the weekdays. Without an offer, this same train journey will cost as high as £78.70 for off-peak travel. If you want to travel anytime, this trip will cost £110.50, which is nearly nine times the special offer.
If you book 20 days in advance, you can travel from Leeds to London Kings Cross for £14.60. Moreover, if you use a 16-25 railcard, the cost will come further down to £9.65. Without the discount and the railcard, the cost of this journey is £25.95.
While train is suitable for long-distance travel, buses are an essential mode for inter-city transport. Inter-city buses are also known as coaches. Similar to trains, season tickets can provide savings in bus expenses as well.
Continuing with the above example of London to Manchester, suppose you want to travel from London Transport Museum to IKEA Warrington in Manchester, you will have to take Network Warrington's bus no. 16 from Warrington after your train trip. The bus trip will cost £2.50 for a single ticket and £4.60 for a return ticket. A monthly season ticket of the same route will cost you £84, which is much cheaper than say 22 return journeys at £101.20.
As you can see, commuting is a very high expense item for most households. You should try a combination of the tips listed above and always be on the lookout for new deals to get savings on this expense.
Use our household budget calculator to see how commuting expense affects your household's finances.