Tag Archives | public transport

How much is walking that little bit extra worth to you?

A common New Year resolution money saving / healthy living tip you’ll regularly read in the newspapers is to change your daily bus / train commute a little so that you walk a little bit extra every day, and spend a little bit less on your ticket. So, in the morning you’d walk a bit closer to work and get on the bus or train a stop closer to your destination, while in the evening you’d get off a little bit further away from your house and walk the rest of the journey home.

Rather than just dismissing such advise with a “come on, Charlie / Conor / Sinead, what about us living in the real world where it’s hard to get up in the morning to get the time to walk more and where our jobs mean we need to get home to relax as quickly as possible”, have you ever seriously looked in to it?

Take 6 minutes to check it out
Can you make these changes to your daily commute? Can you quantify the benefit? Check out your transport timetable, check the stop locations, and check the ticket stages / costs. Is there a stop within walking distance in the morning that if you walked and boarded there, you could drop to a cheaper fare? And similarly in the evening, if you got off at that stop and walked, would you be on the cheaper fare as well.

I appreciate your commute might not entirely lend itself to such a discussion, but if you’re driving every morning, are there other things to investigate? Do you pay for parking – if so, is there a cheaper car park further away from your normal one that charges less, and you could walk the rest of the way to work? If parking costs not an issue, could you just park up somewhere else a distance from work anyway, and just walk the remainder.

Actual Benefits
I checked all this out for my daily commute. For me, it works out that I can walk to a stop closer to work for the morning bus journey, and can get off the bus two stops earlier in the evening. The walk in the morning is 800m, and 700m in the evening, and the cost saving is 55c each trip (based on current 2015 LEAP card charges).

Roll that up over a working year, that equates to walking an additional 375km per year and a cash saving of €275 for the full year.

Win. Win.

Okay, so it’s hard get up that bit earlier on cold freezing icy mornings to walk a bit more, and just as hard on dark wet evenings to get off the bus that bit earlier, but the bigger picture view should help. Maybe tracking my success in sticking to the plan, and potentially promising myself something nice with the money saved at the end of the year will help with that little bit of extra motivation as well.

In the 22 working days since the start of the new year, I’ve so far managed to stick to the plan for all 22 of those days. Not too shabby, so far.

Of course, if I was to be really practical, I wouldn’t be promising myself treats with the money saved, but I’d be planning to use the money saved during this year to top-up my LEAPcard next January when the Christmas induced financial squeeze kicks in.

With the savings to be made in 2015, I could pay for my travel daily all the way to Friday May 13th, 2015.

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We need a viable public transport system?

Or do we have one already? At least inside the M50?

Though I was being a bit of a devils advocate, we had an interesting conversation amongst my “real work” colleagues during last week. I ended up defending our Dublin public transport system against the attacks of my colleagues who claimed that it was woefully insufficient (as is the popular opinion these days).

Dublin has a comprehensive set of train connections – north to south, and using the Luas has an east to west rail connection also. It also has a very comprehensive bus network – so much so that the buses clog themselves up in the city centre each morning (though I have referred to that being a major issue in the past).

For most parts of the city, you can access public transport within 10-15 minutes walking distance. That it might not be your preferred mode of transport is actually your issue, not the transport providers.

This, I think, is a major difficulty for most people when it comes to Dublin Bus. For many people, up until recently they were too posh to shop in Lidl or Aldi – and these people are similarly unwilling to take the bus.

As an example, one colleague bemoaned the fact that there wasn’t sufficient parking spaces at his local DART station, despite the fact that there is a bus route outside his front door.

I also think that we in Dublin have unrealistic expectations when it comes to public transport. It’s very rare in any city in the world to have a comprehensive “point to point” public transport network that suits the majority of the cities population. It’s normal to have to take one or two modes of transport, or to have to change between services, to make it to your chosen destination.

There are issues, obviously (such as the bus gridlock on O’Connell street), but I personally don’t think that our Dublin public transport is as bad as many people make out.

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