Catching the bus around 60% cheaper than commuting by car despite falling pump prices

02 Feb 2015

  • Stagecoach survey shows bus users save average of more than £1,200* a year by leaving car in driveway
  • Annual savings could almost pay household gas and electricity bills for a year
  • Survey of around 40 key commuter corridors in England, Scotland and Wales

Catching the bus is around 60%* cheaper than commuting to work by car despite falling pump prices, according to new research published today (2 February 2015).

The study by Stagecoach, Britain's biggest bus and coach operator, found that bus users save an average of £1,200* a year – or £100 per month - by leaving their car in the driveway. The saving is enough to pay almost all of the average household’s gas and electricity costs for a year**.

Pump prices are at their lowest level for four years, but the Stagecoach survey of around 40 key commuter corridors in England, Scotland and Wales found that hopping on the bus was still cheaper than the cost of fuel and car parking.

The study, carried out between 13 and 16 January 2015, found that the biggest savings were for people in the east of England. Bus passengers travelling between St Ives and Cambridge saved 83% compared to the car, amounting to more than £5,500 a year.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “People may be surprised to hear that, despite lower fuel prices for motorists, it is still possible to save a significant amount of money by commuting by bus. 

“We have been independently found to offer the best value fares in Britain and we are continuing to deliver savings for customers, particularly through our multi-journey tickets which are used by the majority of our passengers. 

“There are also other benefits to switching from the car to the bus, including avoiding the stress of driving in traffic jams, having to pay potentially costly parking charges and being able to go online and check emails on the increasing number of our vehicles that have on-board Wifi.”

As part of this latest research, Stagecoach surveyed around 40 commuter routes across its national bus network, from the north of Scotland to the south of England, which are used by millions of passengers every week.

The study assessed the cost of making the journey daily by car, taking into account only the cost of fuel, parking and any toll road payments – no other costs associated with car ownership were included. The survey then compared the motoring cost with the cost of purchasing a weekly multi-journey ticket on Stagecoach buses which allows unlimited travel on Stagecoach services within the designated area. 

The results showed that, for every route assessed, taking the bus cost significantly less than commuting by car.

In particular, the Stagecoach survey found that commuting by bus between Worthing and Brighton could be 66% cheaper than going by car. With Stagecoach recently investing £2m in the Coastliner 700 fleet – the perfect commuter bus between Brighton and Worthing (with onward travel as far as Portsmouth) there’s never been a better time to switch and save.

Independent research has found on three consecutive occasions that Stagecoach offers the best value bus fares in Britain, providing weekly travel that is on average 12% lower than the next cheapest operator. 

Stagecoach works with other major public transport groups in the UK, as well as campaign group Greener Journeys and local authorities to attract more people out of their cars and on to public transport to reduce pollution and congestion in the UK’s towns and cities. 

Martin Griffiths added: “Delivering high-quality, good value, reliable bus services is a shared responsibility between operators and local and central Government. Bus priority measures are essential to enable bus operators to deliver the reliable services that customers quite rightly expect but these can only be implemented with the support of local authorities. 

“Like all bus operators, we face a number of challenges in being able to continue delivering low fares for customers - operating costs have risen in the last year and we do not see the benefit of the recent drop in oil price as the majority of our fuel costs have been agreed in advance. However, we believe it is vital to deliver affordable travel for our customers and this survey shows that we are continuing to offer fares that represent better value than taking the car. That is a crucial part of our strategy to continue attracting more people on to greener, smarter bus travel.” 

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*Based on an average saving calculated across 36 commuter routes in the UK. Individual savings will vary. Fuel prices recorded between 13-16 January 2015. Monthly and annual savings calculated on Weekly Megarider purchases over 46 weeks of the year.