Up until last year I was absolutely terrified of public transport, in fact as a university student, I would walk or get a taxi to get from a to b… To be honest in Stoke most of the time, it was cheaper to travel by taxi than public transport. There’s something seriously wrong with that.
In fact 9 times out of 10 if I was unable to get a lift somewhere, and my only option was to get a bus, you could bet that I would pass on going out rather than face the trek that was getting the bus.
Then I came to Surrey/Kent/London (even I don’t know where I am right now….) and found that public transport is what makes the city run. My lack of patience took over my fear of public transport and I now find myself being a professional commuter.
My saving grace is my phone that helps preoccupy my mind so my fear isn’t my main focus. Sometimes it even feels natural to go around with my Oyster card and just hop on a bus.
But still despite my new found ease to public transport I dread every morning when I know I have to battle people rush hour and travelling on the many modes of public transport I have to do on a daily basis to get to my job all the way in North London.
Whenever I hear someone complain by how far they have to travel that day, I silently laugh to myself, they have NOTHING on me.
So I thought I’d share with you, my daily commute, so that you can share with me my daily struggles.
My journey begins on a short walk to the bus stop outside my house, this is followed by a 10 minute journey to the bus terminal where there is a tram stop. I get the tram from Addington village and then follows about a 20 minute harrowing journey to East Croydon. Often times, this part of my journey is one of the scariest. The trams travel at the speed of light and during my time of travel, the trams are packed to the brim and I’ve made many commuter friends because of this. It’s rare to be able to have feet space, it’s that full. Picture, sardines packed tight in a can. Nice. We finally get to East Croydon, then comes the fun of trying to get off the tram, most of the time people don’t want to leave and I’ve found myself on many occasion actually being unable to get off so I have to ride to the next stop and walk back to East Croydon.
When I get to East Croydon, I find my platform, I try and use my National Rail app so that I can be prepared to find my platform and so I can avoid being one of the idiots who walk up to the ticket barrier, realise they don’t know which platform they’re meant to be at and then stop in front of the barriers and look up to find the correct platform, thus creating a long traffic of people who are more prepared than them but instead have to wait for the one idiot who isn’t.
I find my platform, and make my usual rush to the front of the platform in hopes that I can be in the front carriage and thus meaning a less trek to the entrance of the station, and missing the mad dash to the exit.
Most days I rush because I’m trying to catch the just arriving train, but saying this the train is late EVERYDAY…so the train I’m trying to catch is actually a delayed train from before. The funny thing about public transport is, they are never on time, it’s infuriating, but part of the London charm you love to hate.
My train goes to London Bridge and the journey ranges from 15 to 30 minutes….at least that’s what they like to say but really it’s always late arriving on to the station too. So the general theme here is London public transport is rubbish and always late.
Once we get to London Bridge, next comes the mad rush to get off the train so that you can be first to the barriers… People move quickly, quicker than me so try as I might, I often get caught up in the queues to escape.
But the race doesn’t end there.
Next is the rush to the underground. Because at 7:30 on the morning EVERYONE wants to use the underground, and usually they’re journey is way more stressful and important than yours. Not.
I make my way from the train platforms to the jubilee line. It takes a long sprint, and 2 long escalators where you either stand on the right, and you can just chill until you get to the bottom. Or if you’re in a rush like me, you head to the left and you walk down. But because my journey karma is bad, I often get caught behind people who want to use the left lane to also chill. Sometimes I get so angry I want to shout at the selfish idiot who refuses to comply by the underground common sense rules.
When I finally get to my platform, there’s the battle of being able to squeeze yourself into another packed tight carriage, you’re lucky if there’s enough room for you and your bag! In fact I’ve been faced with this situation many times. I used to carry a large handbag, and in order to make a little more room for someone, I put my handbag closer to the ground, then some selfish asshole puts their bag on top of mine so I spend my exciting 15 minute journey to Baker Street, carrying someone else’s bag as well as mine.
We’re half way there!
We finally get to Baker Street, and then we rush to the escalators, where someone once again didn’t get the memo about escalator etiquette, so I wait to get to the top of the escalator and find my platform on the metropolitan line. My journey from Baker Street to North Harrow takes 30 minutes. According to the app route planner. In reality, it takes longer than that because every morning I always seem to get lucky and just happen to get on the tube that gets stuck on every red signal after every station. Believe it or not, this happens every morning.
Finally we get to North Harrow, and I complete my journey by walking 10 minutes to the office.
And thus begins my day of work, and the countdown to my journey back home which is more difficult and filled with more idiots than the morning.
For anyone whose day begins much earlier than when they get to the office, I feel you!
Maybe one day I will finally get a job that involves a lot less travel than right now.
But I have to say because of my many hours of commuting I have been able to get back into writing and reading books again, what else can you do when your body is making nice with the person behind, beside, in front of you? I tried to play games before, to pass the time, but I found one too many people got too invested in me winning my 10th solitaire game.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday and you proud everyday.
Peace and Love,