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Driving a car in London

Is it worth it compared to public transport? What's the pros and cons of owning a vehicle and driving around London? | Modified: November 24, 2018 | Author:


Depends. I've always lived in zone 4 NW London and couldn't do without my car, even though I commute in to work on the tube. I guess it depends on your social life and how often you'd actually need your car, and whereabouts you lived. I guess the cons are traffic, but at the hours I drive (evenings/nights and the weekend) the traffic isn't that bad. And I'd call it an easy and safe place to drive, but I know friends from out of London who find London roads daunting and difficult, whereas I hate country roads, so it depends on what you are previously used to.   [ taylor-says 2 years ago ]

I've got a VW Golf, live in zone 3. For anything central, absolutley not worth it. Even with the car I'll still use public transport 99.9% of the time. It's just cheaper, easier, faster, and much less to worry about. I still get the tube into work in the mornings. We mostly just use it for going to Lidl, visitng family, and weekend adventures.   [ clayalien 2 years ago ]

Worth compared to public transport? Unless you drive late night, no it's a horrible alternative. For general put-putting, getting your shopping at the weekend, going for weekend drives outside of town yeh it's good. Ultimately it's a cost thing, averaged out, insurance, maintenance, mot, service, petrol etc my car adds 200 a month to outgoings. So...yeh...it's more of a luxury item in London, definitely don't use it to commute.   [ spacetimebear 2 years ago ]

I had a car back when I lived in the South East (around new cross) and I used it so little that the battery would be flat quite often when I did need it. Not worth it at all, at least for general commuting / daily travel as the public transport is pretty great in London, and less stressful as the driving culture in London is just terrible (compared to Manchester which is the only other place I've spent much time behind the wheel). When I need to transport heavy things or if I need to drive out of London I tend to hire a car, it just ends up being a lot less expensive that way.   [ liamnesss 2 years ago ]

I know the general view here is that cars in London are a bad idea, but I disagree and think there is a case for owning a car. Cars are not much use in central London but are great for escaping at the weekend and are handy for some outer parts of London. I wouldn't dream of commuting by car but I think they have their other uses. Renting a car when you need it is an option, but in reality it is time-consuming and makes spontaneous trips difficult. It often works out to be more expensive than you think. Car clubs (eg Zipcar) are more convenient but get very pricey for more than a few hours. Whilst there are some sizeable fixed costs to owning a car in London (tax, parking, insurance) I think the overall cost of ownership is not too bad. Used car prices are low here, especially for high powered cars, so you can drive something really nice for not that much more than an economy car. There's also a big car enthusiast community and lots of specialist independent mechanics with pretty low prices for parts. I think it's one of the cheaper really big cities in the world for sports car ownership.   [ siredmundsnaillary 2 years ago ]

I have just spent three years driving in Istanbul, so the thought of driving in London doesnt freak me out in the slightest, but the costs of owning a car do! We will be living on the outskirts of London but probably wont get a car since we will be commuting by public transport five days a week and I usually order stuff like groceries online. For weekend trips and such we are looking in to zip car- maybe that is an option for you?   [ NoBeatenPath 2 years ago ]

It really depends where you live, a car is needed more in Ruislip than in Shepherds bush   [ wlondonmatt 2 years ago ]

Yes there's lots of hidden costs with cars it's a bit ridiculous I don't need it for anything serious but just wanted to hear some opinions. Thanks for the reply.!   [ Mirdand76589 2 years ago ]

I just need it for school sometimes cause I have my projects to carry and occasionally want to have road trips with my friends. Was just wondering the safety/traffic what it's like in London. But thanks for your reply!   [ Mirdand76589 2 years ago ]

It entirely depends where you live. There's no general answer here. Don't get a car until you need one imo. It was very useful when I lived 20 mins from a station in Zone 6...   [ danltn 2 years ago ]

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