## Re: Cheaper to drive their cars to work than take public transport

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Message 1 of 11 , Sep 10, 2007
Nicholas Albion <nalbion@...> wrote:
>
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22388430-5003417,00.html
> How rediculous!! By my calculations I'm \$50/week ahead by using
leave most drivers satisfied that they've made the right decision and
satisfied that it's not worth doing the maths for themselves.

***

It's because they're comparing different things. They're comparing the
total costs of using public transport with the running costs of cars.

They don't include the purchase cost of the car. This is like saying
that armed robbery is the best-paid form of work... if you don't count
the prison time.

Here's a detailed write-up taken from my blog
[http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/2007/08/why-i-hate-cars.html%5d is
below. There are links in the original text, I won't reproduce them
here since I'm preaching to the converted ;) But they might be useful
if you need to convince someone else that news.com.au is full of shit.

****

"Cars are the most expensive and slowest mode of transport"

In summary, with details below,

* Cars - \$22 per day, effective time 2hr30min, effective speed 16km/hr
* PT - \$9 per day, effective time 1hr45 min, effective speed 23km/hr
* Bicycle - \$3 per day, effective time 1hr30min, effective speed
27km/hr

The average Australian vehicle travels 14,700km a year, and costs the
owner \$6,760 annually; road and other taxes are included in this,
there being \$550 spent on roads per vehicle. A recent study by the UQ
found that road accidents have a total cost of A\$17 billion annually
(spread amongst taxpayers), or \$1,200 per vehicle on the road. We get
then a total cost per vehicle of \$8,000. This is then \$0.54/km, or
about \$22 a day for the average 40km travelled.

Median after-tax income per household is \$893 a week, with 8.4 million
households in the country, 10.4 million workers (1.2 jobs per
household), and the average worker does 34.7 hours, or 43 hours of
work per household, for an hourly income of \$20.75. It thus takes
about one hour's work each day to pay for the vehicle.

The average time spent driving a vehicle is 90 minutes a day for a car
according to the ABS.

Thus, between driving the car and paying for it, you'll spend 2hr30min
each day on your vehicle travelling those 40km, for an average speed
of 16km/hr.

Figures for public transport spending in Australia are not available,
but for Melbourne the figures are \$600 million in government spending,
or \$400 per household annually. A yearly ticket covering all Melbourne
is \$1,689 per adult, and assuming transport costs in the same
proportion as workers, the same 1.2 workers per household gives us
\$2,027 per household. Bringing the \$8 billion on roads in again -
overall than lots of cars - gives us another \$990 per household. This
adds up to \$3,400 per household annually, or \$9.36 a day.

Assuming the distance travelled is again 40km daily, we get \$0.23/km.
40km will require 80 minutes' travel time on public transport, and it
will take 25 minutes to earn the money for it. This gives a total
effective travel time of 1hr45min, or a speed of 23km/hr.

The effective speed of public transport rises if more people use it,
since roads will require less maintenance. If more people drive on the
roads, the effective speed drops due to congestion and higher
maintenance requirements.

Even so, as it is we find that once the time to earn the money to pay
for the mode of transport is accounted for, private vehicles cost \$22
a day and take effectively 2hr30min of it at 16km/hr, while public
transport costs \$9 a day and takes effectively 1hr45min of that day.

A heavily-used bicycle costs on average \$250 in maintenance and
replacement annually. This also requires roads, again at \$990 per
household annually. So we get a complete cost of \$1,240 annually, or
\$3.40 a day. It takes an average rider 1hr20min to cover 40km. The
\$3.40 takes 10 minutes to earn. The total effective travel time is
then 1hr30min, and effective speed 27km/hr. Obviously bikes will wear
down roads less than vehicles, and health benefits and risks must be
balanced - cyclists make up about 20 of Australia's 1,600 or so road
deaths; set against this is the fact that someone cycling regularly
has a 40% lower chance of mortality due to better overall fitness and
health [Anderson LB, Schnohr P, Schroll M, Hein HO. All-cause
mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work,
sports and cycling to work. Archives of Internal Medicine
2000; 160: 1621-1628] You will also get buns and thighs of steel which

Lastly there is walking. Obviously walking 40km is not practicable,
taking as it would all day. However, it should be noted that in
Australia, 35% of all car journeys are less than 5km. A healthy adult
can manage that distance on foot in 40 minutes. The median single
journey by car is about 10km, which can be done on bicycle in
20-30min. So even if we are not to completely abandon the car, we can
certainly walk and cycle more often, with benefits to our health. My
guideline would be: walk less than 5km, bike less than 15km, public
transport any further.

Cheers,
Kyle
http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/
• Although mass transit will almost always come out ahead of personal vehicle use in terms of cost, the State of Florida surely isn t doing its part. I am
Message 2 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
Although mass transit will almost always come out ahead of personal
vehicle use in terms of cost, the State of Florida surely isn't doing
its part. I am offered (but do not have) a garage parking space for \$4
per month--quite obviously subsidized. Transit passes? \$41.50 per
month. A state program used to offer employees transit passes for
\$10/mo, but I think its elimination (and the \$4/mo garage parking) is
part of Jeb Bush's legacy of "efficient" government.

Florida State University employees have an interesting setup too. They
can get \$10/mo transit passes, but ONLY if they buy a \$250/yr campus
parking permit. So for an FSU employee who doesn't have a car and/or
doesn't drive to work, they are better off buying a parking permit
JUST to get the cheaper transit pass.

--
> > How rediculous!! By my calculations I'm \$50/week ahead by using
> leave most drivers satisfied that they've made the right decision and
> satisfied that it's not worth doing the maths for themselves.
• Once again, truth is stranger than fiction. Kafka could never have come up with this. ... J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
Message 3 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
Once again, truth is stranger than fiction. Kafka could never
have come up with this.

>Florida State University employees have an interesting setup too. They
>can get \$10/mo transit passes, but ONLY if they buy a \$250/yr campus
>parking permit. So for an FSU employee who doesn't have a car and/or
>doesn't drive to work, they are better off buying a parking permit
>JUST to get the cheaper transit pass.

----- ### -----
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
• ... They ... Truth IS often stranger than fiction, but not in this particular case. FSU has TWO bus-pass programs: 1) Free monthly passes to employees who
Message 4 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
wrote:
>
> Once again, truth is stranger than fiction. Kafka could never
> have come up with this.
>
> >Florida State University employees have an interesting setup too.
They
> >can get \$10/mo transit passes, but ONLY if they buy a \$250/yr campus
> >parking permit. So for an FSU employee who doesn't have a car and/or
> >doesn't drive to work, they are better off buying a parking permit
> >JUST to get the cheaper transit pass.
>

Truth IS often stranger than fiction, but not in this particular case.

FSU has TWO bus-pass programs:
1) Free monthly passes to employees who DON'T get a parking permit,
and who indeed are ineligible to obtain a parking permit as long as
they receive the free bus pass; and
2) the aforementioned \$10 (actually, \$10.50, but close enough) bus
passes for employees who DO have a parking permit.
http://www.vpfa.fsu.edu/policies/bmanual/parking.html
• ... J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities mailbox@carfree.com http://www.carfree.com
Message 5 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
At 2007-09-11 11:05, you wrote:

>--- In <mailto:carfree_cities%40yahoogroups.com>carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
>wrote:
>>
>> Once again, truth is stranger than fiction. Kafka could never
>> have come up with this.
>>
>> >Florida State University employees have an interesting setup too.
>They
>> >can get \$10/mo transit passes, but ONLY if they buy a \$250/yr campus
>> >parking permit. So for an FSU employee who doesn't have a car and/or
>> >doesn't drive to work, they are better off buying a parking permit
>> >JUST to get the cheaper transit pass.
>>
>
>Truth IS often stranger than fiction, but not in this particular case.
>
>FSU has TWO bus-pass programs:
>1) Free monthly passes to employees who DON'T get a parking permit,
>and who indeed are ineligible to obtain a parking permit as long as
>they receive the free bus pass; and
>2) the aforementioned \$10 (actually, \$10.50, but close enough) bus
>passes for employees who DO have a parking permit.
><http://www.vpfa.fsu.edu/policies/bmanual/parking.html>http://www.vpfa.fsu.edu/policies/bmanual/parking.html
>
>

----- ### -----
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
• I think we can all think of examples of situations where bureaucracy, stubbornness, or existing policy forces or encourages inefficiency... - Malls with too
Message 6 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
I think we can all think of examples of situations where bureaucracy,
stubbornness, or existing policy forces or encourages inefficiency...

- Malls with too many parking spaces because of local ordinances.
Chances are the owner would be happy to develop the land to a higher
FAR, but that's illegal.

- Suburban homes much more affordable than urban homes. Since most
cities won't allow any new non-sprawl development, the supply of urban
homes is kept artificially low, sending prices through the roof. Of
course, the city's blowing all their budget on six-laning I-10 and
US-231 doesn't help either.

That brings up an interesting point with carfree cities. Does anyone
out there know of a carfree area in an at least midsized city (over
100k) that has reasonable property values? One objection I've heard to
carfree/urban living is that it would turn into NYC--not affordable
unless you live in a very small space.

As a reference point, Tallahassee's population is 159k (337k MSA), and
we're paying \$1050 monthly for 1800 square feet, a few blocks from
downtown.

Cheers,

matt

--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
wrote:
>
>
> Once again, truth is stranger than fiction. Kafka could never
> have come up with this.
• ... =v= Bear in mind that NYC is a singularity, and thus not exactly the best example to apply. So many variables involved there. =v= That said, Manhattan is
Message 7 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
> One objection I've heard to carfree/urban living is that it
> would turn into NYC--not affordable unless you live in a very
> small space.

=v= Bear in mind that NYC is a singularity, and thus not exactly
the best example to apply. So many variables involved there.

=v= That said, Manhattan is only one of NYC's five boroughs.
I think carfree living in still-affordable parts of Brooklyn
and the Bronx are a better model than Manhattan.
<_Jym_>

--
Save Zeeba! Jeffy is God!
• In North Africa, where carfree areas (medinas) of substantial size exist in most cities, the carfree areas include a mix of income levels, from very poor to
Message 8 of 11 , Sep 12, 2007
In North Africa, where carfree areas (medinas) of substantial size exist in
most cities, the carfree areas include a mix of income levels, from very
poor to very rich. This is true even in cities with a population of over 1
million. Of course the local and national economic situations have a lot to
do with it, and the fact that carfree areas aren't seen as a luxury. In some
cases they are even run down.

But in a large North American city, there is no reason why all carfree areas
would need to be in or near the city center, as Jym said. It is possible to
strengthen and revitalize neighborhood centers by making them carfree. If
this is done frequently enough and carfree areas become more commonplace,
the cost of living in such places could drop. Or more proactively, city
councils and planning departments could require that affordable housing be
included in such projects. And of course if car owners were not allowed to
live in the carfree areas, the prices could also drop for that reason.

To answer your question more directly, I do know of a large optically
carfree residential area in Berlin where rents are probably not very high.
We visited it during the Towards Carfree Cities IV conference. I say
"optically carfree" because it includes quite a bit of underground car
parking. Markus Heller, who is on this list, would have more information.

Randy

Matt Hohmeister wrote:

> That brings up an interesting point with carfree cities. Does anyone
out there know of a carfree area in an at least midsized city (over
100k) that has reasonable property values? One objection I've heard to
carfree/urban living is that it would turn into NYC--not affordable
unless you live in a very small space.

> As a reference point, Tallahassee's population is 159k (337k MSA), and
we're paying \$1050 monthly for 1800 square feet, a few blocks from
downtown.

--
Randall Ghent
Conference Coordinator
WORLD CARFREE NETWORK
Acomb, York YO24 3BB, U.K.
tel: +(44) 1904 796860
skype: randallghent
rghent@...

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
• In Asia also, I have walked through some lovely neighborhoods of narrow lanes, particularly in Dhaka and Kathmandu, no cars, very colorful and vivid street
Message 9 of 11 , Sep 13, 2007
In Asia also, I have walked through some lovely
neighborhoods of narrow lanes, particularly in Dhaka
and Kathmandu, no cars, very colorful and vivid street
life, vendors with bicycle carts, kids playing in the
streets, very quiet (the occasional motorbike hardly
compensates for constant honking!). They are indeed
low-income neighborhoods, and I doubt the residents
realize how lucky they are (poor ventilation,
crowding, etc. etc.).

In Dhaka we chose a lower income neighborhood to live
in; directly across the main street the rents are
higher, the streets wider, the cars far more abundant,
and thus the noise that much worse. There are still
cars where we live, and as a result the only people I
know are not the residents of the buildings but the
guards, vendors, students, and beggars.

The problem, again, is that nobody in these
neighborhoods seems to see carfree as a good
thing...yet anyway...so it seems there are two angles
carfree areas, and making them widespread enough that
the rents can't always be atrociously high when people
DO realize the benefits. ??

Anima

--- Randall Ghent <rghent@...> wrote:

> In North Africa, where carfree areas (medinas) of
> substantial size exist in
> most cities, the carfree areas include a mix of
> income levels, from very
> poor to very rich.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Building a website is a piece of cake. Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get online.
• Regarding Debra s post on low-income carfree areas and her remark that nobody in these neighborhoods seems to see carfree as a good thing.. , I m reproducing
Message 10 of 11 , Sep 14, 2007
Regarding Debra's post on low-income carfree areas and her remark that
"nobody in these neighborhoods seems to see carfree as a good thing..",
I'm reproducing the following paragraph from a nice book I'm reading
(full reference at the end):

"So it is with this village. Its ecological and peaceful way of living
is unconsciously won and thus is vulnerable to the winds of change that
fan the latent desires of its people. Even now there is a familiar
though jarring note in this sylvian village scene. The sounds of static
and that impersonal professional voice of another civilization - the
radio announcer- cut through the harmony of sounds as a young man of the
village holding a portable radio to his ear comes around a bend. On his
arm there is a silver wristwatch, which sparkles in the sun. He looks at
me proudly as he passes. And a wave of understanding passes through me.
Just behind that radio and wristwatch comes an army of desires that for
centuries have gone untested and untasted. As material growth and
technological change activate these yearnings, they will transform the
hearts, minds, work, and daily life of this village within a generation
of two."

Elgin, Duane (1981/1993 ). Voluntary Simplicity. New York: Harper. pp 14-15.

Best regards,

--
Carlos.
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