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Walking, cycling, and public transport
These are cheap and healthy options for getting around. Half of all UK car journeys are for fewer than five miles. Short hops like this can be expensive, because cars can use twice as much fuel when engines are warming up.
There's no doubting the convenience of jumping in the car. But walking and cycling can often be a practical substitute, especially in a town or city. They're certainly cheaper, saving on parking fees as well as fuel. And the health benefits are huge, from weight loss to better fitness and overall physical and mental well-being.
More and more services are springing up to help people who want to give walking or cycling a try. Take a look at these websites:
- Walk It - route maps for walking between any two points including journey time, calorie burn, step count and carbon saving.
- Living Streets Walking Works - an online hub supporting people who want to walk more. Living Streets also works with businesses to promote walking.
- Cycle-friendly routes - maps of the National Cycle Network's 12,600 miles of traffic-free paths and on-road routes are available through Sustrans.
- Cycle to work scheme - tax-free bikes via your employer
- City bike hire schemes - London's Barclays Cycle Hire scheme offers easy by-the-hour bike use and OYBike currently has schemes in Cardiff and Reading.
Let someone else do the driving! Using public transport is getting easier, thanks to new services that help you to find what's available and plan your journey. Advance planning can make a big difference to your journey, cutting fare costs as well as travel time.
- Transport Direct - go to the Transport direct website for door-to-door travel information for both public transport and car journeys. Compare car and public transport options to decide which is best, get car routes that take into account predicted traffic levels, estimate costs and CO2 emissions and buy tickets online.
- Traveline - use the Traveline site as a regional public transport journey planner. Find journey options online and link through to ticket purchasing. There's also a telephone service on 0871 200 22 33. Traveline's NextBuses mobile internet service includes apps for iPhone and Android smartphones.
- National Rail Enquiries - find out train times and fares at the National Rail site.
- Transport for London - get information about getting around London on public transport and by car at the Transport for London site.
- Thetrainline - buy tickets at the Trainline, an online train ticket retailer