Cost^H^HBenefit of not having a car

On Saturday Evening, I’m taking part in The Dream of Gerontius, at Truro Cathedral. The Plymouth Philharmonic choir – in which I regularly sing – has been invited to augment the local Truro musicians in this large-scale work. Should be fun!

The downside of this is a busy and exhausting Saturday, as we get our one and only opportunity to rehearse all together in the venue. The Plymouth Phil has coaches departing at 9 a.m, to meet up at 11 in Truro. So I’d need to leave home just after 7a.m. to get on the coach, and wouldn’t arrive back home until after midnight. That’s not so much fun when we’ve been told to bring a packed lunch, because there won’t be time for a proper meal.

I could save an hour of that by taking a taxi to Plymouth for £25. Or I could take a taxi to Truro for maybe three times that. Or I could hire a car for the day and face a long drive I’m not fit for and a parking nightmare. Of those, the taxi to Plymouth is the only one that has any appeal whatsoever.

So how about the luxury option: book a hotel in Truro for Friday and Saturday nights, and make a weekend of it? The downside is that our concert is the end of a festival week in Truro, so the hotels are at their busiest. My default plan – find a B&B / guest house with glowing reviews – isn’t an option. Anything decent is going to cost something not far off £100 per night.

So what to do? The clincher is that Friday night in Tavistock is going to be miserable too, due to the local yobs club. So I’ve booked two nights in the Royal Hotel in Truro, and will travel down there on the train tomorrow evening. Back home on Sunday, which gives me a a free day of touristing. An added bonus is that the hotel is just couple of minutes walk from the cathedral, so I can do things like change clothes and enjoy a quick cuppa in comfort during Saturday’s efforts.

Add the hotel bill to meals and incidental expenses, and I’m paying at least £200 extra for this weekend. Which I probably wouldn’t even have thought about if I owned a car. Like the £800 I recently spent on a new bike, that seems expensive until you count how much I save by not having a car. But set against that, I’m gaining a nice weekend break, and a lot more comfort than my fellow choir members who are travelling down for the day.

When you consider that on a day-to-day basis, I’m the one who doesn’t spend half my life looking for parking spaces, an occasional £200 is worth it for the reduced daily hassle alone!


Posted on June 5, 2008, in music, travel. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Agreed.
    I’ve been tempted to get a car for the daily commute to work to save about 50 mins out of the 2 hours public transport takes me. To be driving in something new, but as small / efficient as possible I’d be using somewhere around £400 – £500 more / month than the £100 I use today on public transport. As it is, I could take a cab 10 times/month and finance the books I read on the train and still have a bit of change left. And that’s even without thinking about the impact to the environment.
    For now public transport wins easily, but I could well be tempted to either move home closer to work or finding work closer to home as 10+ hours away/day doesn’t leave enough time for fun.

  2. Very interesting article, i bookmarked your blog
    Best regards

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