GOLDEN RULES

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

Work­ing close to home can pay div­i­dends

Cars sap your wealth Com­mut­ing saps your soul

Hu­mans mostly want free­dom from land­lords and the chance to put down roots. Gal­lop­ing house prices mean we also now fear be­ing left be­hind as renters for life.

But the per­son who lives near work has a fi­nan­cial ad­van­tage.

On the bus, I re­cently read a study on the Auck­land Trans­port web­site claim­ing the av­er­age Kiwi com­muter spends $11,852 run­ning a car each year.

If they sold it and used pub­lic trans­port, they’d save $9065.78 a year (not in­clud­ing the cost of in­sur­ance).

Just leav­ing the car at home would save Auck­lan­ders about $1200.

Like all such stud­ies, there were as­sump­tions (dis­tance trav-

elled, petrol prices, park­ing prices, etc), and is­sues ig­nored (surly bus driv­ers, in­con­sid­er­ate fel­low travellers, longer and less pre­dictable jour­ney times, etc).

But all other things be­ing equal, com­muters have to earn more, and spend more time on the move, than peo­ple who live near work.

Mad house prices mean com­mut­ing is a Hob­son’s choice for many who want to own a tra­di­tional fam­ily home.

And at times, a ca­reer op­por­tu­nity (like mine in Lon­don) is worth mak­ing a com­mut­ing sac­ri­fice for.

But for the per­son who has set their life up lo­cally, day-to-day costs can be lower, es­pe­cially if they bike to work.

Imag­ine ditch­ing that car and in­vest­ing the bet­ter part of $12,000 a year.

PHOTO: CONSULEO BARRETO/123RF

Pedal power may mod­estly lift the food bill, but it’s a cheap al­ter­na­tive to the 20.6-33.2 cents a kilo­me­tre cost of run­ning a car.

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