Charity says ditch the car and save thousands

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Huge savings can be achieved if families ditch the car - even for short journeys 

26th April 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Swapping the car for a bike can save Scots up to £2,000 a year, new research reveals. 

The findings, released today by Sustrans Scotland, are based on the standard running costs of a car and bike.

They compare the direct cost savings made if existing car journeys were replaced by bike for trips less than five miles, 10 miles and all annual travel.

The research shows that for households which already own a bike, as well as saving £1,959.16 per year when swapping four wheels for two for short trips, can be save £2013.49 for journeys of 10 miles or less.

Even households which don’t own a bike are able to save if they make the switch to cycling for trips of less than five miles, and can put away up to £1,874.16 in their first year, after the cost of buying a bike.

These savings are equivalent to more than an 8% pay rise in the average take-home salary.

John Lauder, national director from Sustrans Scotland, said: “What makes this study so special is that the savings don’t rely on people on giving up their car for good, a decision which simply isn’t realistic for many households.

“Not only is cycling good for your physical and mental health, but it also helps people save money for journeys which typically take no more than 30 minutes by bike.

“We hope our findings will encourage Scots to think twice before taking their car out for short trips if they don’t have to.”

Billy Rosendale, 41, is web developer for University of Edinburgh. He moved from Edinburgh to Doune in February, to be closer to his family.

However with the move, came the dilemma of how to travel to work. Billy had to make the decision as to whether or not he should buy a car for his commute, or if he would cycle and take a train instead.

“I knew there would be environmental and physical benefits to cycling and taking the train, however I wanted to weigh that up against the cost to my personal time and my wallet,” said Billy.

As a result, Billy signed up to Sustrans Scotland’s Workplace Journey Challenge. By logging his journey to work every day, the free, month-long challenge helped him to calculate the cost savings he was making by cycling 3.7 miles from Doune to Dunblane, taking the train to Edinburgh Waverly station and then cycling 3.1 miles to his office.

“According to Sustrans’ Journey Challenge I saved around £450 by cycling and taking the train in March.

“And when I did the maths I realised that I couldn’t get cheaper than cycling and train,” he said. “I worked out that the cost of my season ticket would be £10 a day.

“Compared it to the cost of running a car and fuel costs, it was a total no brainer.”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf added: “By choosing to leave the car at home for short trips, people can make significant financial savings. This research highlights the importance of people in Scotland making smarter travel choices for more of their everyday journeys.

“The Scottish Government will continue to invest in infrastructure and behaviour change programmes to ensure people have the widest choice possible for their journeys and encourage more cycling and walking for shorter everyday trips.”

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