Notes from my commute 3

You may be led to believe that this blog has taken a permanent detour into the topic of commuting. And you are not completely off.

The crux of the matter is this: taking the train to London, which is by far the fastest and most convenient way to go there, is horribly expensive. However, if you travel after 9am and return after 7pm, it costs only a fraction of the rush-hour tickets and it is still very fast.

On the other hand, taking the coach is convenient – wifi, free breakfast and reasonably priced – but it is painfully slow. Watching pedestrians overtake the coach on the last quarter of the journey through greater London, which accounts for half the trip time-wise, is like sitting in a pool of simmering water being brought to a boil.

Having reached London, the next step is getting to the office in Covent Garden from Paddington (train) or Baker Street (coach), both of which require one change on the Tube. I hope to make this final leg of the daily commute by means of a folding bike, whenever I find the time to buy one. (The UK government operates a very generous cycle-to-work scheme, allowing for a huge discount on the acquisition of this mighty fine piece of technology). Alas, this one has yet to reach the consumer market.

In line with the JMI mantra of tailoring clumsy solutions to wicked problems, I keep all options open, i.e. I aim to have multi-travel cards for both coach services (apparently the most frequent service in Europe), an Oyster card for the Tube, a folding bike for the first and last leg of the journey, and reservations for some of the off-peak trains.

The short story is this: I spend somewhere in between four and six hours commuting every day, four days a week. Depending on how I do it, it costs me anywhere between £7 and £50 per day. Add to this a full-time job, an unfinished thesis, and a little run coming up, and you know why my garden looks a bit messy at the moment.

Add a Comment Trackback

Add a Comment