Cars, rideshare, public transport, electric scooters – as the way we think about transport changes, the number of ways people can get from A to B continues to grow. With cities around the world working to lower carbon emissions and find more efficient and safer ways of getting people in and out of town, electric scooters have become increasingly popular.
Although cars have been the preferred form of transport for decades, this may be changing as driving a car becomes less feasible due to:
- Lack of parking
- Rising petrol prices
- Cost of parking and tolls
- Increased traffic congestion - it is quicker to travel by other modes of transport
Considering the changing transport landscape, this article aims to break down the cost of different transport modes and give you a perspective on how much you’re spending on your commute.
How much does it cost to own a car?
Despite their popularity, it’s no secret that owning a car is expensive. Besides the actual price of the vehicle itself, here are some other costs associated with owning a car:
- Registration and licensing
- Maintenance costs and servicing
According to the Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA) March 2019 Transport Affordability Index, the weekly cost of owning a car in Australia is approximately $285, which adds up considerably over the course of the year.
What are the advantages of owning a car?
- Not restricted by when you can travel (unlike public transport where you’re limited by a timetable)
- Able to cover long distances
- Protected from unfavorable weather conditions such as wind, rain and snow
What are the disadvantages of owning a car?
- Expensive to pay off and maintain
- Not environmentally friendly (this excludes electric cars)
- Time-consuming due to traffic congestion
How much does it cost to rideshare?
Ridesharing has changed the way many of us get around.
Running late? Book an Uber.
Had a few drinks? Book an Uber.
Raining? Book an Uber.
However, this convenience can come at a cost. It’s estimated that if you caught a 10 minute Uber to and from work every day it would cost between $120-190 per week depending on where you live, which definitely isn’t the cheapest way of getting around.
What are the advantages of ride sharing?
- Cheap for short rides and when splitting fares with other riders
- No need to worry about the effort of finding a park and the associated costs
What are the disadvantages of ridesharing?
- Prices can surge when demand is high
- The cost can add up if used regularly
- Wait times and trip duration influenced by traffic congestion
How much does it cost to catch public transport?
Traditionally regarded as one of the more affordable transport options, public transport costs vary from country to country (and state to state). Here’s a quick comparison of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria if we divided the annual cost of a yearly transport pass and divide it by 52 (the number of weeks in a year):
Average cost per week
QLD – Go Card
NSW – My Train
VIC – MYKI
Table 1: Data taken from Commuter costs and potential savings: Public transport versus car commuting in Australia.
As you can see, although prices can vary quite substantially from state to state, weekly public transport costs are lower than cars and rideshare. One thing to be mindful of is if you are paying your public transport fare as-you-go, the cost would likely be much higher per week than the numbers stated above depending on your travel frequency.
What are the advantages of public transport?
- Avoid traffic (unless you’re on a bus)
- A stress-free commute - you can read a book or even do some work
- Cheaper than a driving a car or using rideshare
What are the disadvantages of public transport?
- May have to stand when crowded
- Concern about the spread of illness
- Restricted by timetabling and/or cancellations
What is the cost of owning an electric scooter?
Not only are electric scooters a more sustainable transport option, they’re also very cost efficient. This is why many governments around the world are embracing the use of electric scooters.
WIRED estimates that the cost of powering an e-scooter is as little as one percent of the cost of running a car. Specifically, electric scooters cost as little as USD$2.93 per year to power 5 miles (8 kilometers) of daily transport. That’s about AUD$4.20 (cheaper than a large takeaway coffee!). Considering this cost, along with maintenance expenses, Raine estimates that the average cost of running an e-scooter is less than AUD$20 a week.
What are the advantages of owning an electric scooter?
- Environmentally friendly and efficient
- Low maintenance and servicing costs
- Not affected by traffic
What are the disadvantages of owning an electric scooter?
- May need alternative transport during bad weather
- Flat battery if you forget to recharge
- Might have to combine with public transport depending on distance
Summary of Electric Scooters vs Rideshare vs Public Transport vs Cars?
Here’s a look at all four of these modes of transport. Of course costs can vary from state to state (and country to country), and the model of your vehicle or e-scooter:
Mode of transport
Average weekly cost