Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Shopping - Car or Bus?

Having worked out the cost per mile of driving our Vauxhall Corsa as being just over 13 pence per mile in petrol alone I thought I would do a comparison of the cost of going to Newcastle shopping by bus and car to see which would be most cost effective, just out of interest as the car is by far the more convenient and quicker!

The return journey from Alnwick to Newcastle is 70 miles so the petrol cost of that journey works out at £9.10p. On average we might stay in Newcastle for perhaps 3 hours and the cost of parking for 3 hours is £4.80 (£1.60 per hour), this makes the cost of a three hour trip to the shops £13.90. This is of course before you even think about buying anything in the shops or going for an over-priced coffee and a cake :-)

So, the return trip, with one or two adults in the car, £13.90p.

I then rang up the Arriva bus company to find out the bus fares on the 501/505 service which runs from Alnwick to Newcastle. To establish the fares was not as easy as I thought it would be but I got there in the end, the results were useful. The single fare from Alnwick to Newcastle was £5.20 but interestingly the return fare was £6.20, there would of course be no parking charges with this option.

This means that the same 2 adults making the return journey by bus would pay a total of £12.40 making the bus the cheaper option for two people by a figure of £1.50. This is only a modest saving given the convenience of the car and is almost certainly not worth the extra time and effort.

However, it is well worth considering using the bus if either I or Lorena are going into town on our own. In this scenario the single person journey in the car would still be £13.90 but the bus option would be less than half the cost at the single return fare of £6.20, a saving of £7.70 which is very significant if the additional journey time is not an issue.

Clearly far greater savings could be made if additional people were given a lift into town and further savings can be made using the car option if one makes a later journey. Car parking charges stop at 18:00 so if one were to arrive just after 17:00 one would pay only for one hour of parking no matter how long the stay was. A return journey by car with one hour of paid parking would come to £10.70. This would be a cheaper option than the bus journey for 2 people and would be just £3.20 more expensive than the single occupancy car journey with a stay of 3 hours.

At least having the information allows an informed decision to be made, whatever that decision may be.

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