How much does your commute cost you? Do you work further away to benefit from a higher salary or lower cost of living?
Yesterday the newspapers were full of complaints about the rising cost of commuting – rail, bus, car and even bike hire fares are set to rise well above the level the of inflation in 2013. Rail fares have risen 40% in the last 4 years.
What does this actually mean? Naturally we all complain about rising prices – no one likes paying more for the same product or service. Increasing transport costs seem to add insult to injury – you pay more but actually trains are more crowded, roads are busier and bus services are few and far between in some areas of the country. In general the standard of transport is deteriorating but the price is increasing – it doesn’t seem right.
What are we moaning about really?!
But is the distance we are commuting sustainable? People moan about the massive hike in rail fares from places like Norwich, Gloucester and Colchester to London. But Norwich is 117 miles, Gloucester is 113 miles and Colchester 60miles from London. Is that a realistic distance to commute each day? And why are they making that commute? Is it to benefit from London weighting on their salaries? Is it for cheaper house prices outside the capital?
Economies of supply and demand mean that if rail companies are hiking the price it obviously means that people are prepared to pay it! A friend has moved her job from Nottingham to London despite the commute being longer and more expensive because the London weighting on her salary more than compensates for the increased rail fare.
Complaining about the cost of commuting seems ridiculous to me – if you don’t like the price, don’t do it. Get a job closer to home – or move.