How Londoners Can Cut Commuting Costs

Weybridge Train Services

Commuting in London can be an expensive endeavour. With public transport fares regularly increasing and the cost of driving continuing to rise, many Londoners spend a significant chunk of their income just getting to and from work each day. However, there are ways to reduce your commuting costs and keep more money in your pocket. Here are some top tips for cutting commuting costs as a Londoner.

Take Advantage of Discounted Travel Cards

One of the best ways to save money on public transport in London is to purchase a discounted travel card. Many travellers are eligible for concessions which offer up to a third off the price of travel. For example, 16-25 year olds can apply for a 16-25 Railcard, while students can get hold of a 16-25 Student Oyster photocard. Senior citizens can obtain a 60+ Oyster photocard. Families travelling with children under 11 years old are also eligible for free or discounted travel. Make sure you look into any travel cards you may be eligible for.

Walk or Cycle for Shorter Journeys

While public transport is often the most convenient way to commute across London, it may work out cheaper to walk or cycle for shorter journeys under 2-3 miles. Apps like CityMapper can help map out walking or cycling routes to your destination, keeping you off public transport a few days a week. As well as saving money, you’ll benefit from some extra exercise and avoid overcrowded trains and buses at peak times.

Consider Car Sharing Schemes

Car sharing, where you team up with other commuters to take turns driving and share fuel costs, can dramatically cut costs compared to driving alone. Sites like Liftshare and BlaBlaCar allow you to find car sharing buddies with similar commutes. You’ll also save on parking with a car sharing scheme, since you’ll only need to pay for parking half or a third of the time.

Check for Season Ticket Savings

If you commute regularly by train, it’s always worth seeing if an annual or monthly season ticket would save you money compared to buying daily tickets. While season tickets represent a bigger upfront cost, they can lead to substantial savings over time. You should also look out for occasional special deals. For example, Southeastern Railway’s Season Ticket Sale offers 10% off yearly season tickets bought before early March.

Take Advantage of Employer Schemes

An increasing number of London employers are offering schemes to cut commuting costs, so check if your workplace provides any incentives. For example, many companies offer interest-free loans to help employees buy annual travel cards upfront, allowing them to pay back the cost gradually from their salary. Some employers also give tax-free loans to purchase bicycles and accessories for cycle commuting.

Pay Attention to ULEZ Costs

One major commuting cost for London drivers comes from the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge. This applies to any vehicle driving within the Congestion Charge zone that does not meet emissions standards. The daily ULEZ fee is £12.50 for cars, motorcycles, and vans, while larger vehicles like lorries and buses are charged £100 a day. To avoid ULEZ charges as a London driver, you’ll need to ensure your vehicle meets the minimum Euro 4 emissions standards for petrol cars and Euro 6 for diesels. If it doesn’t, look for ULEZ cars for sale or check if your employer provides any ULEZ reimbursements.

By following savvy commuting practices like taking advantage of travel cards, keeping an eye out for seasonal discounts, and checking for employer incentives, Londoners can trim down the cost of their work journey. Little changes can lead to big savings over time, allowing you to hold onto more of your hard-earned cash.