Car Versus Bus


The decision either to drive your children to school, or send them by Collge bus is increasingly perplexing. Monetary and time are issues, as is the important question of carbon pollution. So to assist parents in making a choice of which mode of trasport is best, we will explore the car versus bus equation.

Sample family – Case study parameters

  • Family lives in Buderim, approximately 12 kilometres from the Suncoast Christian College.
  • One one child attending the College. 
  • Each day, Mum drives her child to school in a mid-sized SUV. 

If they opt for the College bus their likely savings are as follows.

Car Versus Bus Cost Comparison

Here is how we worked it out



College Bus


Cost of Car


Cost of Bus

Distance to College (from Buderim) 12 kms   Buderim is a Zone 2 bus.
One child cost per term
5 two-way trips per week 120 kms   Cost per annum for one child (4 Terms) $1,960
40 school weeks 4800 kms      
Cost per kilometre of common mid-sized SUV* $0.79   Time-Saving – more time for Mum  
Cost per annum $3,790   No travel time for Mum  
      Since the child now travels by bus, Mum now has an additional 6.6 hours free time each week –  time she can now use for other pursuits or to earn additional income
Time Cost     Time expended – weekly 0
Travel time to College (one way from Buderim) 15 mins      
Travel time – 2 x back/forth trips per day 60 mins   Environmental Cost  
Daily car park delays (morning + afternoon) 20 mins   Carbon emissions or Co2 (g/km) of School Bus*** 1395 Co2 (g/km)
Time expended – weekly 6.6 hours   Seats on Bus 39
      Per Seat/per km share of Bus Co2 emissions 36 Co2 (g/km)
Environmental Cost     Kilometres travelled 4800
Carbon emissions or Co2 (g/km) of a mid size SUV** 279 Co2 (g/km)   Per annum, per seat share of bus Co2 emissions 172 kg
Kilometres (school trips) per annum 4800 km   Per annum carbon emitted by bus (per 1 child) 172 kg
Per annum carbon emitted by car 1.986 tonnes      



**Co2 (g/km) = grams of Co2 emission for each kilometre of travel by gasoline within urban environments.  Emission data sourced from

***The College uses a King Long 39 Seater bus for the Buderim run. This bus complies with the Euro 5 emissions standards as adopted by the Australian Government. Currently, no Co2 (g/km) data is available for this model bus, so for the purpose of this comparison, we make the generous assumption that the King Long 39 Seater bus might emit five times the Co2 emissions of the mid-size SUV used in this comparison. Thus we make the assumption that the Co2 (g/km) is 5 x 279 or 1395 Co2 (g/km).

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