In the UK, the average daily commute is around an hour – and in some parts of London, it’s two or more. Given that this represents such a sizeable chunk of our lives, it’s only sensible that we devote some thought to how this time might best be spent.
Of the available options, train travel is among the most attractive, as it presents some key advantages that other forms of transport can’t rival. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
According to a study by the Energy Saving Trust, which compared the CO2 emissions of several different forms of transport on a single trip from London to Edinburgh, the train is a far greener mode of transport than plane or car. Specifically, a flight covering the distance would emit 144kg of CO2 per passenger, compared to just 29kg for the rail journey. Interestingly, petrol and diesel cars aren’t that far behind planes, at around 120kg. In fact, the only greener ways to travel are walking and cycling – but these are impractical for many commuters.
One of the major drawbacks of car-ownership is that you’re obliged to look after the vehicle. This can be a source of stress, especially when mechanical failures occur all at the same time.
A major source of stress for road commuters is the fact that traffic jams can often occur. Moreover, they’re more likely to occur during rush hour, which means that as a commuter you’ll be more vulnerable almost by definition. Trains, by contrast, run constantly throughout the day, and the only congestion occurs inside the compartment.
If you take the train regularly, then you’ll find the cost greatly reduced. A season ticket means that you’ll pay a lesser rate by buying in bulk. If you’re a part-time worker, however, there are other options available: carnet tickets allow you to buy a reel of single tickets for the same journey, at a discounted rate.
The time you spend on the train is time you can be used to catch up on those kinds of work that don’t require your absolute attention, but which still take up hours of your working day. A train commute will allow you to catch up on this stuff. You’ll be able to answer mundane emails, re-organize file systems, and put out memos for the following day. You can’t do that while driving!