New figures show
With this week’s travel fare rises hitting the 1.1 million Brits that travel into London every day, MoneySuperMarket has crunched the numbers to work out which key commuting towns and cities in the south east are best and worst value – for the first time attributing a monetary value to the time spent travelling into the capital from further afield.
Of those that are facing rising commuting costs, an overwhelming 79 per cent reveal they feel trapped into paying higher train costs, with few alternative transport options available. The research also reveals that nearly a tenth (9.3 per cent) of those that travel by train never get a seat, despite the high annual ticket cost.
The Commuter Cost Index looks at the average rental costs, ticket prices, and hours ‘spent’ travelling (based on an average London hourly wage of £17.30) in over 30 key commuter towns to create the table documenting the real cost of commuting into London.
The best value area is revealed as the Kent town of Ashford, thanks to its high-speed rail service into St Pancras station which takes just 37 minutes – equating to £2,518 worth of time spent travelling every year, at a 2018 ticket price of £2,395. With rental prices at an affordable £9,252 every year, it’s officially the UK’s most purse-friendly place to live for those who work in London at a total cost of £14,164.
The analysis from the leading price comparison website reveals that Oxford is the worst value area to commute into London, with workers spending £33,113 a year overall – made up of the hour-long commute (£3,879 worth of time) combined with high yearly rental prices (£23,316) and inflated ticket prices (£5,919). This makes commuting from Oxford to the capital more expensive than renting a two bed flat in London for a full year, totalling £33,113 with all costs combined.
Brighton is the second worst value location coming to a £24,469 yearly cost when taking into account average rent (£16,140), annual train ticket (£4,314), and the daily commute of 59 minutes (£4,015 worth of time) – with the travel alone taking up 232 hours over the course of a year.
Hastings is revealed as the demanding the biggest ‘spend’ on hours of travelling; however, the seaside town still comes in at a respectable 13th on the list at £20,355 yearly, due to the cheap yearly rental (£8,724) and annual train ticket (£4,827) that make up for the daily one-hour-forty commute (£6,805 worth of time).
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “By attributing a monetary value to the time we spend commuting, we can understand what the real cost of commuting is for those who come to London to work. This in turn means people can start to take control of their time and money priorities.
“For example, people who are time-poor may be happy to live in a costlier but closer commuter town, while those whose monthly outgoings are stretched might be happy to spend more time travelling if it saves money overall. Hastings is a good example of a town that might suit someone who is commuting on a tight budget.”