Running a car is the single largest household expense (excluding mortgage repayments) for rural families, and the second largest for urban ones. As a result, transport costs have pushed over 5 million people into poverty according to research by the Social Market Foundation.
The average British household spends £5,740 on driving, but only £87 on bus travel.
Poorer regions are worst affected by transport poverty and less well served by public transport to boot. For example, over 12 per cent of people in the Northeast are likely to suffer from transport poverty, compared to less than 4 per cent of Londoners.
The report concludes that freezing fuel duty has done little to alleviate transport poverty. Despite costing £100 billion in lost revenue over the last 12 years, the fuel duty freeze has decreased poverty by just 0.3 percentage points.
According to the Social Market Foundation, the government should scrap the fuel duty freeze or replace it with road pricing mechanisms. Furthermore, transport poverty metrics should be used to target extensions of public transport networks outside London.
Germany already has an impressive public transport network, but has introduced a series of popular subsidised travelcards to boost passenger numbers. The €49 Deutschlandticket allows one month’s travel on all Deutsche Bahn trains, buses and trams across the country. Germany’s transport minister, Volker Wissing, describes the ticket scheme as a ‘role model for the whole of Europe”’ to boost public transport use.
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.