Whilst driving in London is certainly not essential due to the extensive public transport system that is in place, some people find having a car to be beneficial. One massive advantage to having your own transport, is for supermarket shopping. Not only is it inconvenient having to strenuously lug all your groceries home on public transport, it’s also not very cost-effective. If you bulk buy your shopping, you’ll find that items become cheaper when you buy larger sizes. So being able to fill your car with large boxes of washing powder and toilet roll really does help you save money in the long run.
But hold on, let’s not forget about the costs associated with running a car in London. First of all, you’ll need to pay car tax – you can now pay your tax online and get your new tax disk sent through the post.
You’ll also need to get car insurance. Endsleigh offer very competitive quotes.
It’s essential that you purchase some kind of breakdown cover. One company that offers this is Autonational rescue who are currently running a great offer, where all new members get a 25% no claims bonus for 3 months and an extra 3 months breakdown recovery FREE, when joining online.
You’ll also need somewhere to park your car. The first thing to do is look on your local council’s website and find out where the controlled parking zones in your area are and if they’re anywhere near your house. My earlier post on Free Parking recommends a new SMS service that tells you 3 roads near a specific tube station that are free to park on. However, for those people that don’t live near a tube station, you might want to think about renting a parking spot from someone who lives near a train station, by visiting the Park Let site and typing in your postcode for available spaces near you. You will pay a monthly fee through the site, who take a commission from that.
Another cost to think about in London is the infamous Congestion Charge. To find out full details including the charging zone, visit C Charge The fee is currently set at £8 to be paid by midnight on the first day of travel or £10 by midnight on the following day of travel. However, this fee is set to increase substantially next year.
Petrol costs are another major concern for the London driver. A great website to check is Petrol Prices. Entering your postcode into the site’s database returns a list of the highest, lowest and average price petrol stations in your area. This is updated daily. Registering for a free account will tell you even more specific information, such as where these cheapest petrol stations are located.
Of course, another key consideration when deciding whether to get a car, is working out how to get from A to B. At the very least you’ll need a street map such as AA Street by Street Big Atlas London (AA Street by Street) or a Sat Nav system like this popularly rated one Garmin Nuvi 205 Satellite Navigation System – Newly Overhauled
There are a lot of factors to weigh up before you bring a car to London. It’s probably best to try and live without one for a few months and see how you fare.