Tag Archives: commute

Improving the commute – Part 1: why we should care

I normally spend around an hour commuting to work and other back. Two hours of my day that are often spent in rather too cramped and close company with strangers than I would certainly choose to be. A bad commute can cause stress bearly before the day has begun or can ruin an evening. I’m a firm believer that commuters should take an active interest in this important part of their day and not sit by the passively British way when conditions are below standard.

For 3/4 of a year I’ve commuted from Rickmansworth to central London. On a good day it can be passable and tolerable. On a bad day it can be extremely long, awfully crowded and thoroughly uncomfortable. Now, I’ve commuted from a good few places in London in the past and have become used to busy, basic inner-London commuter trains. However, moving beyond the boundaries of London made me hope that a better commute would accompany the other improvements in living standard. So far I’ve not been impressed.

My feeling is that the service could and should be better. While changing the status quo with large transport operators is unlikely to ever be easy, this does not put me off trying. After all, if we don’t make our grievences known, why should we expect anything to change? Action may not produce quick results, but fighting our corner and arguing for a decent service can only help going forward.

A big part in making an argument is to be informed and empowered. Most commuters may be all too familiar with their own commute but are likely unaware how it compares with commutes on other, similar routes. Perhaps if they did they’d feel all the more compelled to taking action. Many facts and figures that would assist a campaign aren’t made very public friendly, however they are out there if you know where to look.

In this series of blog posts I’m going to try to better empower other commuters to make their views known and hopefully also reveal just how good or bad commuters in Rickmansworth and the local area actually have it.

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Oyster PAYG set expand to most of London suburban lines

A promising sandwich board headline for the Evening Standard on Friday, promising “Oyster cards on all trains“. If it’s true it would prove a well overdue development. Although Londoners regards national rail services within Greater London one of the many elements comprising the capital’s transport network, most of the lines have until now not allowed use of Oyster ‘Pay as you go’ cards. From the point of view of the average commuter or resident this makes travel less coherent and straight forward as it should be. Ideally the smart Oyster card should convey you from A to B within London, on whichever form of public transport is necessary without difficulty, however on many suburban lines a ticket is required for the rail ticket and an Oyster card used elsewhere. Continue reading

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When will West Coast travel misery end?

Anyone who’s had any occasion to have to use the West Coast Main Line railway between London Euston and the North West and Scotland over the past decade or so will have as likely or not come across some difficulties at some point or other. Indeed any attempt at travelling on any weekend since as long as anyone can remember will have almost inevitably resulted in journey times hours longer than those of weekdays and may well have required excruitatingly slow bus substitution services for substantial stretches.

December saw what we all hoped would be the turning of a new leaf for the line. Years of engineering would be all but complete and a new timetable would come into effect offering a greatly enhanced number of services. Rejoice! If only it was so…

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