Recently, I made a trip to Cambridge. I had planned to go via train but when I saw the cost, the decision became a no-brainer in favour of taking the car.
Here is the cost breakdown for the trip by both train and car.
Day off-peak return ticket to Cambridge: GBP 51.00 for 1 adult, 1 child
Bus fare to local station: GBP 4 (2 out, 2 return)
(With this ticket, we would have to travel at off peak times. If we wanted to leave at a reasonable hour, it would cost a whopping GBP 71.25.)
Total cost by train: GBP 55.00 (or GBP 75.25 for anytime travel.)
Dartford Tunnel Toll: GBP 1.50 each way
Parking in Cambridge: FREE
Bus ride in to town from car park: GBP 2 for return fair, children are FREE
Petrol: GBP 30.00
Total cost by car: GBP 35.00
Provided the appointed two changes occur as planned, the one way journey time by train is 1.5 hours.
It took a little under 2 hours by car which included a 20 minute break to stretch our legs and use a clean bathroom at motorway services.
It seems as though the rail companies have thrown in the towel when it comes to competing on price. The thrust of their recent advertising campaigns has been to emphasise how much more comfortable a train seat is (if you get one!) and that you can work, check email and make phone calls on the train.
However, in these times of increased financial hardship, it’s the bottom line that people will consider when planning their journeys. And when it costs an enormous 50% more to travel by train it makes no sense at all.