Travel Time Savings

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The perennial topic of travel time savings came up in a yesterday’s Herald Sideswipe article:

 A reader writes: “If you live in Whangaparaoa instead of, say, Takapuna, you will spend around 30 minutes extra each way in your car at rush hour. Since in each eight-hour work day most people spend at least a couple of hours doing pretty much nothing (coffee, gossip etc), commuters work an extra day a week, equal to 20 per cent of their salary in lost time/money.”

To me it sounds like the reader might work at the NZTA economics department, as what they describe is the fundamental flaw in how benefit cost ratios are calculated. Anyhow, I responded:

A commuter in Whangaparaoa might spend a lot of time commuting by car, but this isn’t “equal” to 20% of their salary. People choose to commute in their own time, not their employer’s, and the value of this time is up to the individual.

A recent NZTA survey found that 40% of people actually enjoyed their commute – and only 3% specified zero minutes as the ideal commute. Few respondents said they would use the time saved to do work or study. Common responses identified any time savings would be spent on non-work/non-study activities such as sleeping, more time getting ready for work, eating breakfast, family time, household chores and reading.

For additional benefits they could also try the 0897x bus service – tweet and text as much as you like! (phone not included).


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