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‘Entrenched car culture’ leaves millions of Britons in transport poverty (Gauniadr)

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/09/entrenched-car-culture-l...

Quote:

Millions of Britons are trapped in transport poverty owing to a lack of alternatives to car ownership, with some spending nearly a fifth of their pre-tax income keeping a car on the road, a study has found.

Those who own a car spend on average 13% of their gross income on it, above the 10% generally seen as the indicator of transport poverty. For those paying for their car with a finance or loan deal this proportion rises to 19%.

The report, produced by the cycle industry campaign group Bike Is Best, found that about three-quarters of drivers think they will always own a car, while just under half, 47%, believe they have no alternative.

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Adam Sutton | 1 year ago
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There is another factor here, that being the cost of public transport and its reliablity.

I live just outside London and work in London. For me I have been able to save money by cycling part way, using a Brompton so I can take it with me. Even then my travel costs on a daily basis are £14.90 if I manage to go early enough to be off peak in the morning. For those where I live unable to cycle for whatever reason and having to use the closest station, traveling often enough that an annual ticket is best, a travelcard is now £4280. That's a huge chunk of an average salary. Add to that as much as I have increased the amount of my journeys that are by bike, we still need a car. My partners commute is impossible by public transport or by bike.

 

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hutchdaddy | 1 year ago
1 like

Car culture is amongst the most boring topic of conversation in the world, mostly spread by inadequate people who are desperate to appear to be more important than they really are. Personally I drive a 13 year old Clio, £30 VED, I get 70mpg driving back and forth, my cycle fits in the back, I can get 4 of my buddies in the car and I can listen to my choice of music with the CD player. It's just a shame I can't cycle everywhere I have to go to.

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kil0ran | 1 year ago
4 likes

As a former petrolhead I shouldn't find this surprising, as back in my thirties I was probably spending 25-30% of my income on my car and car-related activities. But I do find it utterly bonkers how people shell out so much money on what's essentially a white good purchase for most of them. The car marketing industry has clearly played an absolute blinder for many years. I know we see a degree of snobbery and tiering in cycling ("wouldn't be seen dead riding Claris mate, you need Ultegra minimum to pop down the shops") but it's generally less expensive. I've got mates and family who are shelling out for two cars on monthly leases and based on the usual "SUV plus city car" combo that's got to easily be £500 per month. I've seen personal finance analysts saying that the whole lease model is the next sub-prime mortgage bubble to go bang (see also short term HP like Klarna) and I have to agree with them. Yes older cars typically have lower MPG figures but I wonder if people actually do a total cost of ownership calculation. I've got a Volvo 940 as a second car, yes it does 25mpg on a good day but I only do 3000 miles a year in it and it cost me just over a grand (so around 3 monthly car payments for a new car). It's still worth a grand, actually probably a little more than that, costs buttons to maintain because most things I can fix myself rather than plugging in diagnostics, and is utterly reliable.

 

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NOtotheEU replied to kil0ran | 1 year ago
2 likes
kil0ran wrote:

. . . .  I wonder if people actually do a total cost of ownership calculation.

They probably think they do.

Like buying a new £30,000 premium car because a car magazine told them it will still be worth £15,000 when they sell it in 5 years. They could have bought a basic £10,000 car that even if it became worthless in the same timeframe would have still saved them £5,000. 

The basic car will probably also do better mpg, have a lower insurance rating and cost less to service and repair.

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Simon E replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
3 likes
NOtotheEU wrote:

The basic car will probably also do better mpg, have a lower insurance rating and cost less to service and repair.

That's all well and good but when your self-esteem relies on the perceived value of the expensive lumps of metal in front of your house then you simply don't skimp!

But more to the point is why people drive so often when it's often a miserable experience? Whether that's 0.5 miles to the shops for 2 pints of milk or the repeated journeys across town - in the morning to one shop for a few items, then they later on to another shop for something else... then a 2 or 3 hour trip to the coast, a city centre or a busy National Trust property.

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huntswheelers replied to kil0ran | 1 year ago
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Like my wee Suzuki Alto, cost me £500 with 18,000 on it... Now with London ULEZ can raise £1.5k as exempt, £30 VED and at least 50 mpg.... Customer of mine was telling me a colleague of his has 2 lease cars at £1200 a month the usual 4 bed detached for two of them stuff..... Apparently the wife does a 5 mile round trip to work per day..... Clearly bikes are no good for her ego

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kil0ran replied to huntswheelers | 1 year ago
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Yep, prior to getting our new city runabout I also ran a Mk4 Golf. Cost £800, cost £300 in parts during my ownership. Only downside was that it only did 35mpg, needed super unleaded (E10 issue) and we were doing 12,000 miles a year in it. The replacement does around 55mpg, £0 VED, and should do us until the Petrol Age ends.

It's quite an eye-opener in the school park the number of '72 plate cars around. Massive SUVs, yes quite a few more electric, and yes I live in a prosperous part of the country, but I have to wonder how they're afforded. There's a couple of new Merc EVs which I believe cost in the region of £72k!

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chrisonabike | 1 year ago
1 like
Quote:

while just under half, 47%, believe they have no alternative

It's just a question of "how much change" isn't it?  It's a sliding scale - it's possible to live with approximately zero motor transport.  Although most of us would find that "impossible" and society would indeed collapse if we all changed at once.  At the other end, there are almost certainly some motor trips that everyone could eliminate.

It is very likely that you can't just replace a series of car trips with public transport / cycling.  Never mind "reliability" there may not actually be any way you can do that journey - especially in / at a reasonable time.  However - we make choices with our lives all the time.  About where we live, what we work at, what activities we do.

Those are all "radical" changes I guess.  However it's not a given that changing some of those so that a car is not needed will lead to a worse quality of life.  It might even be better.  Less travelling time, more local connection, not being able to be at the beck and call of others as a taxi service...

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes
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lonpfrb replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

Not a transport choice so much as to support the Chinese Communist Party's economic agenda to dominate global trade, manufacturing, whilst not respecting human rights, democracy, climate change, intellectual property, or other countries.

So not really a choice at all...

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Simon E replied to lonpfrb | 1 year ago
2 likes
lonpfrb wrote:

Not a transport choice so much as to support the Chinese Communist Party's economic agenda to dominate global trade, manufacturing, whilst not respecting human rights, democracy, climate change, intellectual property, or other countries.

So not really a choice at all...

So just like the Conservative government really - they too want to outlaw protest, ban strikes and demonise the public sector workers they were dripping with gratitude for not that long ago. And ensure that their friends get government contracts via the back door, party donors get an ermine coat and they can all luxuriate in their low-tax status. Not so different, really.

We're told that the car industry is there for our 'freedom' (i.e. mobility) and brings jobs but other ways it does a good job of reducing our freedom and mobility.

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