So I was sitting here going "it's not fair, life's so hard, it's not… - Sally's Journal
So I was sitting here going "it's not fair, life's so hard, it's not fair
" and decided to collect some data so I could prove just how hard and unfair it was.
10 minutes with google and national rail enquiries later, I decided that actually, it was reasonably fair, and Coventry in the brave new world was no more screwed than anyone else trying to commute to London. In price per mile and price per minute our season ticket is a medium deal - definitely not the worse. We're the lowest when it comes to cost for a season ticket compaired to the cost per ticket (ie a season ticket becomes value for money after only 63 days on the train). We've very expensive in terms of the price per mile to travel on an open single ticket*, but fairly similar to Peterborough, and better off than Swindon or Bristol. And if we have the highest cost per minute for a single ticket, that means I have Fast Trains, which is a good thing, and worth paying more for.
I'm a bit annoyed because I want better comparators (ie towns the same distance from London on trainlines that take a similar time) and all the ones I can think of are 80-mumble miles or ten million miles (oh, OK, 120) I can't think of anything in the 100 mile bracket that fits... any ideas?
*I keep saying single ticket to distinguish from a season ticket, but I do mean a return
- Market Harborough
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)|| |
I, err, tried Ipswich, Southampton and Swindon. They're all 80-mumble miles away (according to google-maps), not 100. Cheltenham has such slow trains you couldn't commute from there unless you were prepaired to knaw your own leg off from the agony - at 2 hours 10 minutes it's not very comparable. Dover also seems to take a huge time (1 hour 55, for 43.60)
Market Harborough is a rather excellent one though (99 miles in Googlemaps, 1 hour 15 on the train, 76 pounds for an open return, season tickets 146 and 5876 for a week and a year.) Similar to Coventry and much cheaper.
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)|| |
Hmmm...how about Norwich, Bath, Portsmouth or Salisbury?
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)|| |
I was assuming Bath would be v. similar to Bristol and Portsmouth would be similar to Southampton, but they're good ideas. Norwich I think is a bit too far and much too long (2 hours and 115 miles for 78 pounds). Salisbury - 92 miles, 57 pounds, is a good one, but it's an hour and a half, which is a bit more infesable for daily commuting...
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)|| |
King's Lynn? Leicester?
Looking at the NRT, Diss, Tisbury, Stroud, Grantham, and Westbury seem to be at around the 100 mile from London mark.
nice fast train from grantham?
brockenhurst is between southampton and bournemouth and a lot of the fast trains stop there.
leicester, kings lynn, calais, cheltenham...
Have you thought about getting two season tickets - i.e. Coventry to x, x to London. Providing the train you travel on stops at x, that's valid. And it's often cheaper because of the bizarre logic of our railway pricing.
You can also sometimes pull good split tricks where you don't have to be peak for the entire journey - e.g. if you regularly make a journey that's peak when you depart, but not when you arrive, you split at the point where you go off-peak. (Don't think that's applicable to you here, though.)
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)|| |
If one ticket is season and the other is not, the train doesn't even have to stop at x, which I think might open up some good loopholes, but cause a lot of arguments with the ticket checker...
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)|| |
Neat ideas, but as Coventry is my train's final stop before London I don't think there's any loophole I could play with. There are some much slower routes into London that I could get cheaper tickets for, but turning a 4 hour daily commute into a 5.5 hour one doesn't seem like the right solution...
Ah well, no silver bullet. Of course, in a year-and-a-bit, you won't have a YP railcard, and the Virgin thing was a loophole anyway, so in some ways it's losing a perk rather than a right. Train travel can be ridiculously expensive for us old folk! But it's still annoying, and the withdrawl without much publicity is where you should vent your fury. Your MP might be a good next step.
(Random thought based on the press office thing - Warwick Uni have a very active student radio station with a strong newsteam. They're all Young Persons, so they might be interested in making a fuss over it. Although most of them problem don't get up early enough to make use of a peak ticket...)
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)|| |
The tax people reckon 20-40p per mile driven (that is you can claim that sort of money as the expense of driving a car for business use on your expenses). That's between 40 and 80 pounds for a return trip to London (200 miles). The 35 pounds per working day of a weekly season ticket is thus cheaper than driving yourself to London, although the open return ticket is more expensive than doing so.
However it is generally agreed that actually this sort of expense is over-generous and that the real cost of driving (fuel + wear and tear + contribution to tax/insurance costs for car) is somewhat lower than these figures suggest. One of the annoying ways in which car-use is privileged in a way public transport use is not ;-(
There's clearly a depreciation/amortisation element as well.
Just a moment.
There's this table
from the AA, and if you drive 200 miles a day, say 150 days a year (since Sally says she travels to London three days a week), that's 30,000 miles a year. In fact it would be more miles, because of non-commuting use, but the table only goes down to 30,000 miles a year. However, the depreciation element will be greater at that rate than at the 10,000 miles specified, so let's say that balances out. Sally's cheapest possible cost is 26.08p a mile, petrol at 112.6p/litre. The best information I have is that petrol was actually 116.8p/litre on Sunday. Call that 4p more, adds 0.4p/mile, coming to 26.5p/mile.
Actually, I tell a lie, they have taken into account the change in depreciation depending on mileage in the table. Let's say that Sally drives 10,000 miles a year for non-work purposes. That would reduce the standing cost per mile by a quarter, which (ignoring the increase in depreciation, which will be small) is 1.86p/mile, changing the final figure to 24.6p/mile. We're giving it a spurious air of accuracy, so let's call it 25p a mile. So £50 for the round trip. An annual season ticket, on the same assumption of 150 commutes a year, works out at £45 per round trip.
|Date:||June 11th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)|| |
Just a small point here - this clearly depends upon your situation.
When I was 21, I was driving my car on business use. This meant the insurance for the Group 4 Nissan Micra 1.0l I had at the time was over £1,000 a year. (Thankfully, when I told them I'd got married they refunded £120 of this). And yes, this was by a long stretch the best quote I could get, as requiring "drive on business" use was unusual (my boss can't drive due to sight deficiencies). This is the problem when you require comprehensive insurance as being without car would add many hours to each day, and yet you have no No Claims Discount.
If you then amortise this, and you're doing low mileage in an inefficient car, you find that 40p/mile isn't as generous as you might think.
I agree the situation is unusual, but to cap the amount I could be reimbursed at an amount lower than it was costing me would seem a touch bizarre.
As it happens, as I had a small car, my company wouldn't cover the costs I was incurring. They only paid 40p/m at the time for cars over 1.6l.
Have you looked at other stations along the line which, although they will by necessity have different journey times and distances from London, should give you an idea as to whether Coventry is unfairly screwed in comparison to, say, Birmingham.
Of course there are only about 4 or 5 potential stops along that route aren't there? Which may make any meaningful comparison difficult.
You could try finding out how much it costs to commute from Rugby (ten minutes nearer London from Cov); I think you'd be surprised. Cities get very favourable rates, compared to places a stone's throw away, where you have to get another train to connect.
I remember when these special 'city' fares first came in - at about the same time as most long-distance trains stopped calling at Rugby. I remember thinking 'I'm glad I don't commute to London, because if I did, I'd now be stuffed'.
Also, I get the impression from a recent search for tickets, that the very cheap advance tickets are no more. I suppose it makes sense; if they are to only have one advance fare, then it can't be *that* cheap. But (for Oxford to York) an advance single is now more or less half the price of a walk-up return. So no savings to be made any more, and no point in booking well in advance.