This is the million dollar question, and one that is frequently asked by our clients. There is no clear cut answer, as it depends on the place of residence, as well as what the car might be used for.
Generally speaking, it is not necessary to have a car in London in order to manage the daily tasks (commute, groceries delivery, etc.). London offers a vast, reliable (mostly) network of public transport. So unless you live in an area with little public transport, or very far away from a public transport station, travelling in London is fairly easy. Groceries are delivered by all supermarkets, so no need to get a car just for that. And yes, if you were asking yourself the question, delivery men will even bring your groceries upstairs, if needed.
To make your decision, you will need to take into the account the cost associated with parking and insuring a car. Most London Boroughs offer a Resident Parking Permit to their residents, which, at less than £200 a year, is affordable. However the application documents to obtain the permit can be quite daunting, especially if you drive a company car. Insuring the car gets a lot more costly, especially if you have never driven in the UK, as insurers will not have any history of your behaviour at the wheel. So check out the cost of insurance before deciding, if your budget is limited.
Lastly, parking in a different Borough than the one where you reside can be costly: check out our other article on this topic.
Where we do recommend to take a vehicle is in the following situations:
– if you are a family with several children going to different schools, and these trips cannot all be made via public transport, because of distances/children’s age/timing conflicts
– you live in a residential area with long distances to amenities such as supermarkets, sporting centres, etc.
– you want to make multiple trips to the beautiful English countryside, outside of London
An alternative option to owing or leasing a car is the Car Clubs, which offer vehicles by the hour, day or week, available in all areas of London. Very flexible, and you can find the nearest car to you with their mobile and online app. The Car Clubs are a good solution if you need a car on an intermittent bases.
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