Mums and dads in Britain provide more than £32 billion worth of free taxi services to their children every year, according to new research from Sainsbury’s car insurance. The findings reveal that parents collectively clock up more than 230 million miles a week, the equivalent distance of driving from Earth to Mars at their furthest points apart, transporting their children to social, sporting and recreational events outside of school. If charged at Hackney carriage rates this would total more than £621 million.
The study shows that more than 9.3 million parents spend time driving their children around, covering an average of 24.7 miles a week, worth £46.17. On top of this, parents spend an average of around one hour 14 minutes sitting in their cars waiting around for their children, worth another £20.49 a week. In total the average parent who drives their children around is worth £66.66 a week in taxi fares to his or her children.
Parents can’t put a price on the time spent with their children but for those who have ever wondered what it would cost for someone to do it for them, Sainsbury’s car insurance has created an online parental taxi calculator. The calculator shows the amount mums and dads around the country would have to spend to hire a taxi to cover the hours, minutes and miles they put in for their kids. Visitors to the new Sainsbury’s car insurance Facebook page will also be able to view documentaries of two real life ‘mum and dad cabs’.
The research from Sainsbury’s car insurance reveals that 4.8 million fathers regularly ferry their kids around compared with 4.6 million mothers. “Dad cabs” cover an average of 28 miles a week on taxi duty compared with 21 miles for mums, waiting around in their cars for an average of one hour 23 minutes a week in comparison to one hour four minutes for mums.
Of those parents who drive their children around, eight per cent drive them more than 50 miles a week, more than half of whom (5%) cover a time-sapping 100 miles a week or more driving their children to social and recreational events.
But far from being disgruntled at the amount of time they spend on parental taxi duty, almost two thirds of parents (61%) find this time provides some benefits to their relationships with their children. One in three (30%) say it is one of the few opportunities they have to talk to their children without them being distracted by gadgets like TV or mobile phones, and seven per cent say it is the only chance they get to talk to their kids at all.
One in four (27%) parents say that the time spent driving their children around strengthens their bond with them, 18% say it is one of the best times to raise difficult issues with them, and 17% say it provides some of the best quality time that they have with their kids.