10 tips on how to survive commuting by train

It is not unusual these days to do a one to two hour commute each way that is one third of your working day just getting to and from the office or site! A lot of the time we are on overcrowded and dirty trains, next to people who only know of soap and deodorant though TV commercials. Although the service has got better, the trains haven’t. The cost of a season ticket from my station to London is around £5500 a year; add another £850 to that to park your car. That adds up to a big hole in your salary for travelling on overcrowded, dirty and cramped trains. So I am surprised that people are willing to suffer being treated like cattle, actually cattle may have more rights! To allow our families to have a reasonable standard of life plus the fact that most of us could not afford our homes if they were in London, we suffer the boredom and unpleasant conditions. I have made a list of ways to survive commuting, some of it is well used and some of it is tongue in cheek. I hope this is of some use to you if you also have to travel cattle class every day.

  1. Reading is the most common survival tool that the commuter has, be it a book, paper or magazine you will see people using this technique. The down side of this is if you’re reading a Terry Pratchett book, your neighbours will soon tire of you saying “Here, listen to this” and reading an adult magazine, even if it’s just for the interesting article on bike maintenance can get you in trouble!
  2. IPods and other music devices while also common they have the effect of making you antisocial if you don’t make sure the volume is at a reasonable level. If a fellow traveller asks you to turn it down, remember to be polite as your iPod could be difficult to remove from your bottom or other orifices. However there is a new game played by some commuters, Name That Irritating Berks Tune.
  3. Portable DVD players and other visual devices like the iPod could be classed as antisocial if it is too loud, however if you are watching it on the train it would be nice if you had the subtitles on so the bloke looking over your shoulder can get some enjoyment out of it as well.
  4. Laptops and Netbooks are the true multipurpose tool of the commuter, you can work, play games, read or watch films or if you have a reasonable connection you can troll the internet or Blog. Point to remember, chose your laptop for convenience not for show as a 17” screen is quite hard to use on your lap on a crowded train and the table is not for your personal use as the other people around you are also entitled to use it. I know that’s unfair but it’s the rules!
  5. Talking to other commuters. This one could go one of two ways, you end up making a lifelong friend or Soul mate, or you could meet the commuter from hell who has the wrong opinion on everything and his mate the psycho train enthusiast complete with bobble hat and anorak.
  6. Sleep is a good one; however it would be wise to set your alarm so you don’t miss your stop.
  7. Drawing or doodling is fun, don’t try to paint as there is nowhere for the easel.
  8. Guess what your other passengers do for a living, this one is fun however try to keep it clean as arousal is noticeable.
  9. Talking to yourself, this one works on a busy train as you get people making room for you and some times you may even get a seat.
  10. Cross word puzzles, if you don’t know a clue don’t ask your fellow passengers, if it’s a really easy clue you could look like a right doughnut.

I hope these ideas help you on your daily commute to make the time go better. And enhance your journey.

Thank you for reading.

Comments 3 comments

Tinsky profile image

Tinsky 6 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

Though commuting is no where near as bad in Australia where I live, I hear you! It's one of the reasons I have only applied for work that's not city based for the last 10 years. I like working close to home :-)


mrfluffy profile image

mrfluffy 6 years ago from Northamptonshire Author

Working close to home or working from home is an option I am investigating; it’s almost the holy grail of employment to me these days.


Vintage Scottie 4 years ago

Lucky you Tinsky. I live in Australia and have a 2 hour trip each way to work (that's 20 hours a week of my life that I will never get back). Sadly just can't afford to live in Sydney. Would love it if Aussie trains had a table or at least a drink holder on the back of the seats but no such luck.

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