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.
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.