Six smart ways to cut commuter costs
The recent petrol hike has many commuters worried about the rising cost of transport. The good news? These clever hacks might help contain those increasing expenses.
- Consider carpooling. If you’re feeling the pinch, you can be sure that your colleagues and friends are just as concerned about the effect of transport costs on their monthly budgets as you are. Carpooling is an obvious option if one or more of your colleagues lives in your area: work out a ride schedule, and share the expenses. The same goes for nights out – ask for a lift whenever its feasible.
- Think about ride-sharing options. Ride-sharing is just like carpooling, except that you don’t necessarily know the people you’re riding with. Most often, you’ll meet each other through a ride-sharing app (search Google to find which are available in South Africa). The bonus with ride-sharing is that it makes it possible for you to find a lift even if there isn’t anyone from work in or around your neighbourhood: the app will help you locate someone who’s heading in your direction.
- Consider using public transport options like the Gautrain or Uber, if you seldom use your car.
- If you drive long distances to work, it’s vital to up your car’s fuel efficiency. If you aren’t already driving a car that’s light on petrol, think about changing your model. If this isn’t possible, increase fuel efficiency by removing all unnecessary weight from the car (like golf clubs, or other items which you often carry around but don’t use daily), keeping the windows closed and switching off the air-con.
- Keep an eye on maintenance. The small flaws add up: tyres that aren’t pumped up properly, for instance, can hinder fuel consumption. So, too, can driving with your windows open, or carrying additional equipment you don’t need (think of the golf clubs you left in the car over the weekend, for instance).
- Consider registering for e-tolls. Registered e-toll users pay a capped monthly rate of R148 for motorcycles, or R266 for light vehicles, and may also benefit from discounts according to the time of their travel.
- Use tech to your advantage. That might mean hooking up your laptop so that you can work from home, even just a few days a week, or using apps like Waze to help you find the quickest, less congested route to work.
- Stop-start traffic uses more fuel, so plan your commute times to avoid heavy traffic.
- Go easy on the accelerator. Fast driving also uses more petrol.
- Shop around for the cheapest insurance, but don’t forgo insurance entirely. Your monthly premiums may be a grudge, but they’re less of a financial burden than having to replace a stolen car.