Which is cheaper, driving, or public transport?

It’s an argument that people constantly come back to, is jumping in a taxi, or hopping on a train cheaper than driving?

It isn’t an easy question to answer, but we’re going to have a go.

A woman getting on a bus

Define “cheaper”

When it comes to choosing between driving or public transport, cheaper comes down to what you’re looking at.

The initial cost? Public transport wins by a landslide, buying a car, insurance, and fuel versus walking to a bus stop? Easy win.

Cost per journey? That’s where things get tricky, look at how much train tickets, taxi fares, etc cost. If you were commuting via taxi and train every day you could easily spend more than the annual running cost of a car.

buses in a city centre

Cost VS Convenience

It’s not just the price that should factor into whether you opt for public transport over driving. You also need to think about how easy your choice of transport makes your life.

A bus will work out less than a taxi, but a taxi will take you right to your door.

A car gets you right to where you want to be, and there’s no crowds, waiting for other people, ticket delays and other things that can really wind you up on a commute.

Trains can be expensive, but they help you avoid motorways and let you (hopefully) cover longer distances in relative comfort.

There are still traffic jams, but they’re a universal problem.

Want to make your next road trip easier? We’ve put together some top road trip tips here.

driving into the sunset


It’s an awkward conversation to have, but the quality of public transport depends on where you are in the country. If you live somewhere rural you might have limited access to everything, whereas if you live in a city, you might be a bit more spoiled for choice.

But then you also have to factor in that when you’re driving, you’re pretty much relying on yourself. With public transport delays are common, whether through maintenance work, roadworks, overcrowding or industrial action. These are all extra things you need to be constantly aware of, especially if you’re relying on public transport for your commute.


Metroline in Manchester

Saving money on travel

Every journey costs money, whether it’s a fare, ticket cost, or paying for parking when you arrive somewhere.

With everyone being much more cost-conscious at the minute it’s important to look at the ways you can save money on travel.

From season tickets and passes to last minute deals and off-peak travel, there are ways to bring down the cost of public transport everywhere. There’re loads of price comparison and last-minute deal sites that are worth a look if you’re trying to get cheaper fares. Sites like The Train Line and Money Saving Expert.

For drivers it’s a bit different. Saving money comes down to research as opposed to offers usually. That could be monitoring fuel prices to find the petrol station that’s currently cheapest or looking for car parks with the most reasonable tariffs, splitting your journey by using a park and ride or planning ahead and pre-booking.

You can even mix and match to give yourself the best possible deal. For example, you might drive to the outskirts of London and park in a pre-booked location. Then hop on the train or a bus into the city. That way you avoid the expensive train fare to get all the way into the capital but also avoid the congestion charges and potentially hefty fees for parking in a major city at the same time.

Which is best? Driving, or public transport?

Honestly? There’s no real right or wrong answer because what works for one person and their budget might not work for someone else. No two journeys are the same, so its important to think about why you’re travelling, where you’re going and which way of getting there is going to be best for you.

Mixing things up can sometimes make a trip more fun. You can make getting to your destination feel like a little bit more of an adventure (if you’re into that sort of thing). That could be hopping from train to train to tour around the UK instead of a road trip, or it might be plotting a more interesting route to drive somewhere.

If you want to get more out of how you travel and take some of the stress out of your trip planning, you can download our Evology App to get more control over where you park and how you pay.