Three men. Three horrendous commutes - and three new ways they devised of getting to work without the stress and expense.

If you ever find yourself sighing through your commute and bitterly resenting travelling like a sardine, here are three ways to simplify your commute and save hundreds of pounds each year in the process.

James Taylor, Co-Founder of Make my Blinds, lives North Somerset and works in Avonmouth, Bristol. It's 8 miles door to door, but can take an hour at rush hour to drive home.

James Taylor

My old commute:

I used drive to and from work and leave the office at 5pm, but after doing this for a while I changed my commute and I now work later instead, leaving the office between 6.30pm and 7pm when the traffic has died down.

How much did it cost?

Time period Average costs
Weekly Approx. £60
Monthly Approx. £240
Yearly Approx. £2880

The real cost for me was the cost of time, and time wasted sat in the car. I was spending up to five hours a week commuting home (it took 20 hours each month), but now my journey takes 15 minutes and I've saved almost four hours a week.

What made you go ‘Enough is enough!’ and change your commute?

A wet and windy winter evening where I was sat between two lorries crawling along at snail's pace. I thought, ‘This is just ridiculous.’

What is your new commute? How have you made changes?

My new commute is still the same route, but I mix it up in the summer between cycling and leaving the office later if I'm in the car to avoid the traffic.

How much money are you saving weekly/monthly? What are your travel costs now?

Summer costs and Winter costs:

Time period Cost Saving
Weekly £15 - £30 £30 - £45
Monthly £60 - £120 £120 - £180
Yearly £720 - £1440 £1440 - £2160

I was spending £60 a week on fuel, and now that's down to £30 a week in the wintertime as I’m leaving later. If I cycle in I'll still spend about £15 a week on fuel because of weekend driving and the occasional drive into work.

Are you going to do anything special with the money you’ve saved?

I’ll probably just save it until there's enough for a weekend away or a holiday!

Does your new commute take up any more time? Are there any downsides?

The opposite. My new commute saves me up to 16 hours a month - I can gain two extra working days just by leaving later.

Will you ever go back to your old commute – or might you be tempted in the future?

There's no way that I could sit in traffic for an hour again like I used to, it's just too frustrating and feels like the biggest waste of time ever.

In the summer I like cycling in, but in the winter it’s too cold, wet and dark so the car is the best option. There is no train network to and from work, and the bus links are poor.

Kunal Sharma is the marketing manager from Dealchecker. He lives in East London at Pontoon Dock, next to the Thames Barrier Park, and works near Barbican station in Central London.

Kumal image

My old commute:

I would take the DLR from Pontoon dock station to Bank. From there I would get the Northern line to Moorgate station, and then the Hammersmith/Metropolitan line to Barbican station.

How much did it cost?

Time period Average costs
Weekly Approx. £33
Monthly Approx. £135
Yearly Approx. £1580

What made you go ‘Enough is enough!’ and change your commute?

Living in London is expensive and it was becoming harder and harder to live a normal life and have money to do other things. Also the underground had issues all the time, and it made me realise I was paying a lot of money to be let down.

What is your new commute? How have you made changes?

My new commute is taking the DLR to Stratford station. From there I get the overground to Caledonian Road and Barnsbury, and walk to work from there. Because I am going from Zone 3-2 instead of 3-1 I am now paying £2.30 per journey instead. So I pay £4.60 a day for my travel costs.

Did you have any additional outgoings?

No, I didn’t have to buy anything additional to assist with the commute.

How much money are you saving weekly/monthly? What are your travel costs now?

Time period Cost Saving
Weekly £23 £10
Monthly £92 £43
Yearly £1104 £476

Are you going to do anything special with the money you’ve saved?

At the end of 2015 I used the money I saved to help pay towards a holiday in Las Vegas for my birthday! At the moment I am saving towards doing some travelling next year.

Does your new commute take up any more time? Are there any downsides?

I think it takes about 15-20 minutes longer, but I am used to the journey so it doesn’t bother me. Walking allows me to be flexible; I can pick up the pace if I need to or slow down if I have more time. My route takes me through a park and avoids a lot of the foot traffic of central London, which I appreciate.

The only downside of the commute is that if the weather is poor, it can be a lot more difficult to wake up in the morning and force myself to walk - although once I leave the house I’m fine!

Will you ever go back to your old commute – or might you be tempted in the future?

I don’t think so. I like my walk! If I ever move house, I would try and move to a place where I could do a similar commute and walk part of the way in.

Simon Kelman lives near Tower Bridge in Zone 1 and works for 192.com as their Head of PR in Imperial Wharf in Zone 2.

Simon

My old commute:

My old commute to work was a bus from mine to Waterloo, then a train from Waterloo to Clapham, then either a packed train or bus to Imperial Wharf.

How much did it cost?

Time period Average costs
Weekly £31.70
Monthly £126.80
Yearly £1521

What made you go ‘Enough is enough!’ and change your commute?

It was having to get up earlier and earlier to get to work as the trains and buses are so unreliable.

What is your new commute? How have you made changes?

I now drive to work and it takes about 40 minutes. It isn’t much quicker, but I know what to expect every day and it’s much more pleasurable than attempting to get on a full bus or train.

Did you have any additional outgoings?

I bought a SKODA Citigocar for £3,300 in February 2016, and the monthly repayments were less than the £126.80 cost of a monthly travelcard - plus the car retained value, so it’s a far better deal and more practical than a travelcard.

I sold it for £3,100 in February 2017, and have since bought a new one with what I made back, so it cost me £200 to drive a car for one year.

How much money are you saving weekly/monthly? What are your travel costs now?

Time period Cost Saving
Weekly cost of having a car Approx. £25 Approx. £6
Monthly cost of running a car Approx. £100 Approx. £26
Yearly cost of running a car Approx. £1210 Approx. £311

Cost breakdown of one year’s car ownership:

  • Cost of car for a year: £200
  • Insurance for a year: £400
  • Petrol for a year: £360
  • One-off service: £130
  • Car parking permit: £120

= £1210 per year

I am not really saving money - however I am building up a tangible asset by owning a car, unlike when I was paying to be let down by TFL before.

Does your new commute take up any more time? Are there any downsides?

The only downside is the extra traffic I have to endure when there are strikes on the tube and trains, as those people are forced onto the road.

Will you ever go back to your old commute – or might you be tempted in the future?

I honestly can’t see myself going back to commuting via bus and train - it shocks me that buying a car is better value, especially when so much is made about the environmental impact and getting people out of cars. Until there is another viable option I will stick to the car.

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