Having a car in London

Fvck me this is such a dumb thing to do unless your life depends on it.

I hate driving

I drive 10000 miles a year

I live in London

(Effing elderly parents, see)

Along with the dents and the broken wing mirrors, here's a new insult - white gloss paint spilt on the black paintwork. I thought it was birdsh1t. It isnt. Wtf.


Absolutely, Sumo

The only people I come across who love their cars are people in their seventies for whom driving made a massive difference in their youth, independence. Especially women.

The Neopolitans have the right attitude to this - they dont give a shit if their car has dents scratches etc.  I dont think I have ever seen a car in the city that is not battered  - so what as long as it goes?

I absolutely loved driving but when I lived in London (zone one) I hated it.  Always walked or tubed which was inevitably quicker.  I had a secure underground car park for my motor which was coincidentally brand new and quite flash when I moved there, and it always boggled my mind the kind of cars people would park on the street.  Not just new Lambos and Ferraris but sometimes mega valuable vintage Astons and stuff like that.  Don't know how they didn't worry about them all the time.

The Neopolitans have the right attitude to this - they dont give a shit if their car has dents scratches etc.  I dont think I have ever seen a car in the city that is not battered  - so what as long as it goes?

Same in Brussels.  Other cars' bumpers and trees are seen as tools to be used when reverse parking, rather than obstacles to avoid.  Most of the trees are bent sideways.

Yes I always find it odd that people demand freedom from the (economically rational) imposition of congestion and pollution charging to travel slower than a push bike. 

"I Wo0d sYcle butt tHe RoadZ are veree dAngerus." 

"mY biG car keaPs chIldren Sayf."


I think if I had a car in London I would keep it parked at a convenient end of line tube station on whatever line I lived near.   I cant see I would ever drive around London itself, especially you can get everything delivered these days.

Driving in london is like playing a video game - constant hazards, pushing buttons the whole time. 

I lived without a car in london for 10+ years having got rid of my ridiculously impractical car when I realised I was spending more time and money servicing it + fixing dents than I was driving it. Then Covid came along and with the kids + public transport and car clubs all useless we had to go back to a car. Now mostly use it for driving outside london but it is handy to see friends in parts of london that are inconvenient / slow by PT. 

All four corners of the bumpers are dented and sctratched, not by me and no I do not fix them, I accept them. Paint is a new one for me, I wont fix that either though as would it have to be ground off.

Guy, you can’t choose where to park your car in London you have to have a residents permit and park where you’re told. Unfortunately for me my house is at the end of a long road all with parking shared between residents and visitors so all the tradesmen park there and I expect thats where the paint came from (I mean a decorator not a white van scratch, it is a big blob at the front).

It is also difficult to get in and out of parking spaces with packed vans and I expect that’s where the dents come from, although I repeat, not by me! I park very carefully. And I am also resentlful of my neighbours who have four vehicles between them and take up all the available parking nearby.

I heartily wish I did not need a car in London.

The vast majority of people with cars in London don't need them. If you live within, say, zones 1-4 and aren't a tradie, disabled or need to commute into the middle of nowhere then a car is just an anti-social convenience. I've lived here 10+ years and have three kids and have very rarely been constrained by lack of a car. 

I just dont know so many people do have cars in a city Mr Large, I agree. Young people these days just dont drive really, it isnt the young. I am old but have one because of having to visit the oldsters outside London 1-2 times a week, but I doubt every older person falls into the necessity category. Driving in London is certainly not a convenience though, I would say it is the opposite.

This thread today was prompted by the thankfully very rare but awful experience of using my car in my local area today (I had to take it for an MOT)

Agree that it is older people who are more of a problem (you still often see the classic 2-3 cars per family which is just crazy) but I'm also surprised by just how many young people (trainees etc) have cars in London. Maybe the PCP deals are to blame as they mask the true cost but for some reason car ownership seems to just be a thing you naturally do rather than something subjected to any form of rational consideration.

If the average person worked out the true cost of car ownership per year against the cost of alternatives it would make zero sense to have one. Capital cost, depreciation, fuel, tax, insurance, parking etc is huge when you might use it once or twice a week. I use a combination of public transport, car club, car rental, taxi, uber etc at a fraction of the cost (and often hassle) of owning a car. 

See, this surprises me, so many young people live in modern appartment blocks with no provision for parking - a deliberate action by the developers and often a condition of planning permission.

only apartments in the centre of large cities have no parking.  In London and centres of some other large cities driving is unfashionable and indeed unnecessary for young people but in smaller towns,  in the suburbs and in the countryside it is still ubiquitous.  I could not imagine living in my town without a car.

A great many cities and towns have ring roads and they were always the bane of my life when I had to frequently visit clients around the regional south east, I would typically be heading home around 4.30 and got stuck in the most dreadful ring road traffic jams. Assume this is still the case?

I'm the opposite - I've  never had a car in London and now want one - to visit aging family/ get places where the strikes/ works are on the train lines (so much more often now). All these stories put me off and I have the fear from not driving in over 10 years.Bus lanes and Deliveroo drivers scare the cr** out of me. Need a chauffeur haha.

Car enthusiast here.  Like driving in rural areas.  Lived in London for 10 years.  Never thought of having a car in London.  Ridiculous idea.  Of course, might be different if had small kids in London and school not close by.  Freaks on the tube etc

People have cars in London because it's cheap.  As I've been saying for years if they properly charges for residents parking the number of car would plummet.  I had a car because it cost £8 a month to park it on the street and liked the convenience of just being able to head off to go sailing at dawn on a Sunday morning.  If it had cost me £100 a month to park I'd probably have sold it and accepted that I'd have to get a train to the coast on Saturday night and find somewhere to say overnight.  Think how much councils could raise charging the Chelsea tractor owners £500 a month to park whilst also persuading lots of people to get rid of cars they don't really need.

Since my job upped sticks to central London the Gagamobile is getting very little use.

I am loathe to part with it though as know it could become essential again in a minute and also will be very hard to replace if sold due to the mad used car market where decrepit 10+year old heaps cost 5k+ now

Bertha yes I do know as frequently look into it for clients.

Minkie I'm not saying it's cheap (although £7 a month compared to the others costs of car ownership is nothing) but it's not a suitable deterrent to stop people owning cars they don't need.  Have exemptions for people who work antisocial shifts and the like but no reason why a mum with a Q7 who just uses it to pick the kids up from school and head to the Cotswolds for the weekend shouldn't be taxed heavily for the pleasure.

...is totally unnecessary. Cars should be banned from the cities and progressive taxes should be used to invest in cheap public transport.

Anyone who drives a 4WD in London is a twot.




I know plenty of folk that drive because they don't like taking public transport with the great unwashed.  Personally I like the flexibility of leaving whenever I like and knowing, more or less, exactly when I will arrive

Personally I like the flexibility of leaving whenever I like and knowing, more or less, exactly when I will arrive


Walking is most reliable, followed by tube and overground with cars/taxis/buses a distant last because of the variable traffic/road works etc.

This made me heh if  you read it as an advantage of driving.  Even on my 50 mile drive from Sussex to south London my arrival time can vary by an hour driving.  It would be far more predictable by train but is a pain because of having to go into town and then back out although if I had to pay more to park I'd probably suck that up.