Why is Transport in the UK Expensive?

Everyone who has stepped foot on any kind of public transport within the UK will understand that it can be expensive. Unfortunately, the fares can even be a higher price than just driving to your desired destination.

Public transport isn’t run by the government as many people would expect, but it is, in fact, controlled by private companies like Stagecoach Buses and Transpennine Express.

transport - train

Transport by Trains

Around the UK, there are 28 train operators which all cover specific regions and areas helping you to easily get from one place to another. The ticket prices can massively vary depending on which part of the UK you live in, the length of your journey (as we all know, the longer the journey, the more expensive the price) and also whether or not you’ve booked in advance.

The Times pointed out that fares of trains have risen by 36% since 2010. This is around 2.6 times more than the increase in average earnings.

Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer has defended rising fares, saying: “Money from fares is underpinning the improvements to the railway that passengers want and which ultimately help boost the wider economy.

GET IT CHEAPER: The Railcard website offers multiple cards which you can purchase for discounted tickets on trains around the UK. For example, they have many choices of cards for people of different ages like 16-25, 26-30 and senior railcards.

According to ThePointsGuy, London has the highest average monthly commuting costs in the world:

CityAverage monthly commuting cost
London, U.K.£150
Sydney, Australia£117.75
Dublin, Ireland£111.43
New York City£93.28
Toronto, Canada£86.76


Transport by Buses

According to The Guardian, bus passengers across England are paying unfair rates compared to Londoners. In certain areas, passengers are paying around £6 for a single journey, this is more than four times the amount that Londoners are charged to traverse the capital.

Buses have plenty of bus stops in one area, making it as easy as possible to access a bus. In some cases, the bus stop might be right outside your house, or a few minute’s walk away, this makes buses the easiest method of public transport to access.

The prices of tickets will increase with the length of your journey, it will rise depending on how far away your chosen destination is.


  • If you are a regular passenger, it will work out cheaper for you to purchase a weekly, monthly or yearly bus pass. Some tickets will save you thousands of pounds doing this instead of buying single tickets for every journey.
  • Along with this, if the bus company has an app which you can download on your phone, they usually do some app special tickets which are great deals to help you save money.
  • Take advantage of free buses. Some cities have a free bus which allows you to travel around the city centre and hop on and off whenever you like.

Ways to Save on Transport Costs

A lot of people in today’s society will choose to take a form of public transport over walking or cycling. Even if the journey is a ten-minute walk away, many people would rather hop on the bus, knowing it will cost them money.

Walking: It is not only a free way to get to your desired end destination, but it is also a way to keep healthy. So, you’re not only saving money on fuel and parking but also basically getting a free gym membership. Your journey to work in the money might be a 15-minute drive or a half an hour walk. This could have a huge impact on your health in the future.

Bike Riding / Cycling: This is a quicker, but just as healthy alternative to walking. Cycling will get you to your end destination just as quick, if not faster than driving, especially in rush hour.

Travel outside peak times: Walking or cycling isn’t for everyone. Some people are unable to do so and rely on cars and transport. But, travelling outside peak times can massively impact the price of your tickets (on public transport). Peak tickets rise as much to double in price of the off-peak tickets in some areas, so you should be aware of this to save yourself some money.