Parents’ Taxi: Going the extra 700-miles for kids’ social lives

Parent Taxi's - how far do they drive their children?
  • Mums and dads typically play taxi, on average 700 miles per year
  • One in every 10 family car journeys is now for ferrying kids around to after-school clubs and classes
  • The number of families with two or more cars has increased by a third (36%) since 2014

One in 10 car journeysI are now made by parents serving their children’s social lives – driving the distance between London and John O’GroatsII in an average year.

According to new research from Sheilas’ Wheels Car Insurance, with the recent explosion in the numbers of after-school clubs the minutes clock up on the way to all manner of activities. As a result parents are now racking up more than 700III miles and spending sixIV days acting as chauffeurs each year.

Children’s social lives are so busy that three in five (61%) parents in an average month will also rely on others to help drive their children to where they need to be. The most relied on are gran (11%), grandad (11%) and friends (11%).

Where once a weekly session of Brownies or swimming sufficed, now there’s a whole industry of after-school classes from piano lessons to Mandarin, karate to snooker, and even circus training, with the typical child now taking part in three hours of extra curricular activities per week. This packed schedule for each child means parents are now spending hours of their time taxi-ing their kids to and from these after-school clubs.

In fact, the average toddler already has a busy schedule and will take part in two hours of clubs and classes a week by the time they reach their third birthday, rising to four hours by the age of 12.  And with many families having two or more children the logistics of getting them to different activities in different places and then picking them up can be problematic.

The number of families with two or more cars has increased by a third (36%) over the past two years, with some parents saying that this is partly down to having to ferry children and adult kids around when the other family car is in use.

As a growing number of young adults are living in the family home well into their twenties and thirties, many still expect to be drivenV around. Parents’ taxi services are taking them on at least four journeys every week – the same as parents with kids under the age of three.  Many mums worry (34%) about their adult children making their way home late at night, with some (17%) saying that their adult children wouldn’t be able to use public transport to get back to the family home.

Many dads (34%) say they don’t mind the time they spend driving as the journey allows them to talk to their children without the distraction of mobiles, tablets and TVs. Yet a similar proportion of mums (29%) say that they also feel like the journeys are sometimes a drain on their time.

Responding to the findings, Sheilas’ Wheels spokesperson Emma Banks, said: "It’s easy to see how the journeys clock up, with kids today often having busier social lives than their parents. Our research shows that there is little let up for parents as the taxi-meter doesn’t slow down even when the children reach their twenties or thirties. If you are a household with two or more cars its certainly worth thinking about multicar insurance which is often better value than two separate policies."


For more information:
Emma Banks, [email protected], 01737 235107 / 07894 158605

Notes to editors:
Research was conducted by Opinium among 1,023 parents in the UK that drive. Research was carried out online from the 22nd December to 4th January 2016.

Sheilas’ Wheels launched in October 2005 and shook up the car insurance market by offering a product designed specifically with women in mind. The company now offers car, home and travel insurance and is part of the esure Group of companies.  The group founded in 2000 by Chairman, Peter Wood, is one of the UK’s leading providers of Motor and Home insurance products through the esure and Sheilas’ Wheels brands and owns the price comparison website, Gocompare.

 I Source: According to DfT, the estimated average annual mileage per car in England is 7,900 miles Parents will drive an average of 700 miles in the average year. 100 divided by 7,900 x 700 = 8.8%

 II The distance between London and John O’Groats is 685.4miles and the average family drives 700 miles in an average year
 III According to the research mums drive 7 miles in an average week driving at least one child to their activities. 7 miles x 52 weeks = 364 miles.

 IV According to the research mums spend 91 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes) each week driving one child to their activities. 1.5 x 52 weeks = 78 hours. 78 hours = 3 days (and 2 hours). Dads will also spend 87 minutes (1 hour 27 minutes) per week so six days on average.

 V According to the research parents will spend 66.9 minutes each week driving their adult children aged 20 - 29 to where they need to be and 45 minutes each week for children aged in their 30s and still living at home.