Tag Archives: transport


london underground tube train on platform

Some people love commuting, some people hate it. You probably enjoy commuting more if you love your job. It also helps if it’s not too long. And apparently those that commute by bike are pretty happy regardless.

One thing is for certain though, and that’s that our commute looks a lot different today than it did just a decade ago.

Commuting today is a bit different than it used to be not very long ago. (And with the rise of working remotely, there is an increasing number of people who don’t commute at all.) Between 2004 and 2010, the number of British commuters who took the train reporting that they were wasting their time traveling fell by a little more than a third—a drop that researchers attributed to a sharp rise in the number of commuters using their phone to check email, browse the Internet, or listen to music or podcasts. Today, workers interested in further reducing their angst, then, can at least take solace in the fact that their forebears had it worse.


P.S. how I spend my commute

How long is your commute?

london underground tube train how long is your commute

It turns out that New Yorkers are just as obsessed with commute times as Londoners. Like Caroline from A Cup of Jo, the first three questions I’m normally asked (or asking!) at a party are ‘where do you work’, ‘where do you live’ and ‘what’s the commute like?’.

How long is your commute?

My commute is an hour each way on a good day. I guess that’s quite a long commute, but that’s London for you. It’s often quicker to travel from the suburbs into the city than it is to travel from one side of London to the other.

I have my commute down to a fine art. I know which chipped sign to stand next to in the morning so I can squeeze on the first of my two trains. When it comes to getting on the second train, I always wait for it to arrive at the other end of the platform so I can secure a speedy exit at the station closest to the office.

I know that there’s a faster route to work that would shave four minutes off my commute time, but I rarely take it. A seat trumps being squeezed in like a sardine any day, at least when there’s only four minutes in it.

An extra working week for every month

I recently calculated that for every four weeks of work I spend another working week travelling to and fro. That’s a cool 40 hours a month ‘wasted’ on a train.

Except I don’t think having a seat on a train is wasted time. It’s only wasted time if you’re not enjoying it. Since doing the sums I’ve tried to up my travel game, finding new ways to make the most of my time. My journey is mostly spent underground so a lack of Wi-Fi (and a broken iPod) has pushed me to think beyond the obvious.

At some point I’d love to use that time to learn a foreign language. At the moment though I use it to read short stories, listen to podcasts and catch up on long reads. Sometimes (like today) I manage to write a blog post too.

The best commutes though are the ones where I lose myself in stories. I’ve loved listening to Serial and reading articles published in the New Yorker, like Filter Fish by Oliver Sacks.

I’m just trying to make those 40 hours a month count.

I’d love to know more about your commute. Do you walk to work? Perhaps you travel by boat (like Alex when the tubes are down)? Do you feel like it’s wasted time or do you have a clever way to make the most of it?

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London’s best and worst tube stations

london worst tube stationInspired by this Reddit post, I’ve been thinking about London’s best and worst tube stations.

London’s best tube station

I had to really think about this one. After all, what makes a tube station great? Is it the architecture? The connections?

To decide I answered the ‘London’s worst tube station’ question first. I decided that I should mirror the attributes that make a station bad with those that make a station good.

With that in mind, my favourite station is Chorleywood train station. Technically it’s not in London, but it is on the Underground! It’s overground, easy to navigate and (almost) a pleasure to wait 30 minutes for a train. The staff keep it well maintained and there are loads of trees and plants in every direction you look.

London’s worst tube station

Without a doubt, I consider Bank to be London’s worst tube station. It’s claustrophobic, the gap between the train and the platform is huge and the interchange is sheer hell.

Although just to get it all off my chest, the interchange at Green Park is no fun either.

So – what do you think are London’s best and worst stations? Share the love / angst.

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Sunday selection: songs about cities, Kings Cross and why public transport should be free


And just like that, it’s February. How are those New Years resolutions going for you? As usual I haven’t followed through with mine (yet) but I have this hopeful feeling that January was an anomaly in general and that 2015 is going to be an amazing year.

Anyway, enough of the philosophising and over to the really interesting bunch of stuff I’ve read this week:

The best songs about cities

Why can’t public transport be free?

Helpful layout maps of Kings Cross stations

Cities and their fonts

Talk of the week: City, Country, Suburb? at the Royal Academy

Read anything interesting about cities this week? I’d love to take a read too.

Have a great week,


Baby on board badge

baby on board badgeEarlier today a friend sent me a text with a dilemma.

She had got on her usual train next to a woman who was pregnant and wearing a baby on board badge. There were no seats available and they ended up standing next to each other. The lady had a small bump and nobody sitting down had offered her their seat.

The train started moving and my friend wanted to know what to do: should she quietly ask those in the seats nearest the pregnant lady if one of them could give up their seat?

I’d love to know – what would you do?

Image: Franglaise Mummy

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Sunday Selection


A few London related bits from the Internet that I’ve read this weekend:

London Mapper, a website that aims to provide comprehensive insights into the state of poverty and inequality in the capital, launched today.

Watch how London has evolved since Roman times. A clever video developed by the Advanced Spatial Analysis team at UCL.

A selection of new London fiction.

The circle line is the slowest London Underground line.

Public transport accessibility by London ward.

It would be a shame for Rio but I’d love for London to host the Olympics again in 2016.

Have a great week ahead!

Sunday Selection

It’s been a quiet weekend on the whole, bar a walk around Bloomsbury that you’ll read more about tomorrow, a quick visit to the British Museum and a few drinks at home on Saturday night. I’ve spent the majority of this weekend catching up with some favourite blogs and indulging in the ultimate pre-Christmas activity – circling the programmes I want to watch in the TV guide! Midsomer Murders, Mrs Brown’s Boys and celebrity University Challenge are all on my list.

A few Instagram snapshots from my weekend:

instagram photosL-R: British Museum; Netflix fire video; University Challenge

London museum of the week

The Charles Dickens museum is the only attraction that I’m aware of that is open in London on Christmas Day. The museum is a Georgian terraced property in Bloomsbury that Dickens called home between 1837 and 1839.

Tickets for the Charles Dickens museum on Christmas Day will set you back £18 but you will (supposedly) be transported back to Dickensian London for the price. Expect film screenings, authentic decorations and naturally readings of the author’s Christmas stories.

Cocktail of the week

Warm yourself up with a hot toddy.


  • Transport for London have a new website in Beta. They are currently testing this nearby function.
  • Wouldn’t commuting be better with Christmas decorations on the tube?
  • Test your London transport knowledge with this quiz from the London Reconnections blog.

A bit transport heavy this week! I’m sure I’ll be back with more frivolous links next week.

Silent UK: Going Underground

Urban Explorers came to my attention around the time they came to most people’s attention – with their incredible photos from the Shard plastered across the media.

What fascinates me the most are their adventures underground. Ghost stations have fascinated me for some time, and while the recent BBC series ‘The Tube’ took us to Down Street station these photos deliver a slightly different look at the abandoned station.