Stay-cationing families looking for value and convenience should look at alternatives to traditional rail travel this summer, according to Europcar, the UK’s leading vehicle hire company. With rail fares going up by an average of 6%* this year combined with planned engineering works at weekends on some routes throughout July and August, Europcar is advising families to consider the freedom and affordability of car hire as the ideal way to get to their destination and explore the UK’s more inaccessible countryside attractions and secluded beaches.
Catriona Lougher, Marketing Director for Europcar said: “We all want to get our holiday off to a good start and while rail is a great solution for many, the logistical issues of getting to and from the station with children and suitcases in tow can make for a fractious time. Weighed up with higher rail fares and the chance that engineering works often means travel in replacement buses – and car hire becomes an increasingly attractive option. For example, a family of four travelling from Bristol to Edinburgh could save around £600** on the price of a train fare, by opting to hire a car instead.
“Hiring a vehicle for some journeys not only offers substantial savings but the comfort, convenience and flexibility that rail travel struggles to offer. Avoid the stress and let the hire car come to you.”
Europcar offers customers free delivery and collection from most of its 200 plus locations across the UK through its weDeliver service ensuring a stress-free start to the holidays. In addition, Europcars Airport Connect service means holidaymakers can hire a vehicle from their local branch and leave it at the airport and then pick it up again at the end of their return flight. From £49 each way, Airport Connect means travellers can wave goodbye to hauling luggage across town and dealing with train connections and stressful delays.
“Car hire offers the perfect way to avoid train delays, hefty fare increases and overcrowding. In addition, there are no worries over maintenance, the peace of mind of 24 hour roadside assistance plus the fuel efficiencies of driving a relatively new vehicle suited to the journey and number of passengers. With delivery and collection and the option of additional drivers, car hire really puts travellers this summer firmly in control of their journey.”
Car Hire vs. Rail: Cost Comparison***
London to Exeter car hire £161.70 vs. rail fare £597
An open return rail fare from central London to Exeter would cost a family of two adults and two children £597. However week long car hire from the compact car group, such as a Renault Megane, would only cost £161.70 plus fuel and congestion charge.
Manchester Salford to Penfro, Pembrokeshire car hire £150.39 vs. rail fare £217.80
A family travelling to one of the top 50 beaches in the UK, Barafundle Bay would pay £217.80 to travel to the nearest rail station in Penfro, plus face a wait of 90 minutes for their connection. A 7 day hire from the compact car group, such as Fiat Grande Punto, would be £150.39 plus fuel. In addition to this, the family would save on taxi or coach fares from Penro station.
Bristol to Edinburgh car hire £161.70 vs. rail fare £744
An open return fare for a family of 4 travelling from Bristol to Edinburgh costs £744 this Summer, whereas a weeks hire from the compact car group, such as Renault Megane or similar, would cost just £161.70, plus fuel – a big saving.
Birmingham to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight car hire £164.99 vs. rail fare £400.80
A family travelling with an open return rail fare from Birmingham to Yarmouth would pay £400.80. In comparison, a week long hire from the compact car group, such as Renault Megane, would be £164.99 plus fuel.
Nottingham to Blackpool car hire £164.99 vs. rail fare £186
For a family looking for a traditional holiday to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the rail fare would cost £186. Compared to that, a 7 day return hire from the compact car group, such as Renault Megane, would be £164.99 plus fuel.
*Source: Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc)
**Based on an open return rail fare, compared with a 7 day, pre-pay hire of compact vehicle.
***Prices correct as of 8th July 2009.