The Killer Commute

carsLast week I attended a JISC Digital Media seminar on The digital media collection +100 years.
JISC Digital media are based in Bristol and what with the school run and nursery pick up I decided it made sense to drive over there…..

What a fool I am!

Driving over to Bristol and back through rush-hour traffic was like wadding through mud.

The way there was pretty bad. My husband is resisting our purchase of a sat nav. He believes that we need to keep the ‘art of map reading’ alive. Map reading is a skill I have never had and am unlikely learn! Needless to say I got lost and ended up driving up and down one way streets and into dead ends.

The way back however was something else. I sat in Brislington (a district of Bristol), virtually stationary, for almost 40 minutes. I could have got out and bought myself a kebab from Kebab world (I love that shop name – conjures up a world of Kebabs!) while my car sat and waited, if I’d been so inclined – I wasn’t, I’m a vegetarian. It took me almost 2 hours to drive the 38 miles home. I was 20 minutes late for nursery pick up, luckily my parents had been kind enough to go and collect the terrors for me.

Now at the time I was cross and writing this blog post has helped get it off my chest, but I don’t have to do a daily commute to Bristol. However I do know quite a few people who do.

For some commuting to work must suck the very life energy out of them. Not only that but it’s environmentally unfriendly and expensive (see this commute calculator). Of course there are greener alternatives and some people are lucky enough to be able to cycle, take the bus or carpool for transportation. However many people have no option but to drive through total gridlock to their work cubicle.

Work Wise UK and the AA claim that commuting by car costs £10 billion per year on fuel alone and the UK’s 18 million driving commuters drive on average 2,740 miles per year.

In the credit crunch we need to get smarter about the way we travel as car commuting costs some £10 billion per year. We should also consider whether we need to travel at all. Three hundred AA employees are saving 90,000 litres of fuel or 620,000 miles commuting each year by working from home. Our employees are saving valuable time and money by working from home.” Edmund King, the AA president.

Isn’t it time more companies considered whether the killer commute is really worth it?


3 thoughts on “The Killer Commute

  1. Commuting is lame.

    Assume your useful (non sleeping, or trying to sleep) day is 16 hours, and your commute is 1 hour.

    So in a week you spend 10 hours commuting.

    In a year, 480 hours commuting. That’s 30 days of your useful life – ONE WHOLE MONTH EVERY YEAR – just spent traveling, dealing with the personal habits of fellow commuters, spending a fortune on petrol/car wear/parking or train/bus tickets, waiting – in a traffic queue or for your transport to arrive, putting up with delays outside your control.

    1 month every year. Of your life. Lost. Or, if you commuted for work from say ages 24 to 60, then three whole years of your useful life. Gone. Wasted. Unretrievable.

    Commuting is lame. It literally takes years away from your life. If you have the opportunity, work remotely instead.

  2. I’d agree that commuting is lame!

    More companies need to realise that the activity that takes place in these tiny cubicles (‘pig pens’) could happen just as easily from someone’s home.

    If they don’t we are likely to end up with more situations like the road rage of Falling down.


  3. Until recently I lived in a London suburb and had roughly an 1 hour commute to and from work. A year and a half ago I switched from always doing this by train/tube to regularly cycling (2-3 times a week) instead – this took approximately the same time, and got me exercising regularly in a way that didn’t eat further into my day.

    Then we moved out of London, and I moved jobs. Now I commute an hour each way (or just over) by car. Now, this I don’t like. Not only have I lost my regular exercise slot, but I’m burning around £50 of petrol a week – bad for my pocket, and really bad for the environment. The time I don’t mind quite so much – I listen to a wide variety of podcasts which I quite enjoy (interestingly my commuting method has a direct impact on what media I consume and in what format) – that said, I can’t say I’d mind getting the time back and spending it with my family instead!

    For me the biggest issue is the environmental impact – it would be great if (as you suggest in your next post) the organisation I worked for was to actively encourage homeworking where ever possible as part of a proactive approach to reducing impact on the environment.

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