Commuter Focus – 5 Factors You Must Consider
How does commuting by car compare to other methods? In this focus on the commuter, we will find out. As we keep being told, we are living under an unusual set of circumstances. The country is still trying to feel its way round how best to re-open without the risk of corona-virus spreading again. A lot now see public transport as a risk. So which way should people commit? Let’s have an intro, and then look at five main considerations:
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Public Transport Intro
We’ll start with public transport. Before the lock-down, this way of getting to work did have some clear advantages. For a lot of people it is cheaper, particularly if the distances involved are short and parking is difficult. It can be quite convenient with frequent train services which, despite the jokes, can sometimes be reliable. However, even over short distances there are some issues that should really be highlighted.
Flexibility and Communication
On public transport, the time and route is dictated by the mode of transport and not by you. This can be quite a restriction, and less flexibility often results in more stress. Also, public transport can sometimes be late, which further compounds the problem. In that situation, you’re stuck in a carriage with people you invariably don’t know very well, wondering when you can escape. If you happen to be underground, you might not even be able to communicate with family members to let them know you are OK. Sounds very simple, but this a big deal for many, particularly if there are small children involved.
Cost and Punctuality
And matters do not improve for trains with distance. With long distance commuting, ticket prices suddenly have to be brought into the equation. They can be astronomical, and this is for a lot of people who frequently don’t get a seat. Also, if there is a delay on a long distance route you could be stuck for a very long time indeed. At least here you stand a greater chance of being above ground, so you can let someone know you won’t make it home. Much of what I’ve said so far also applies to buses and coaches. Outside communication is easier, as is rerouting if there is an accident. The flip-side is that they tend to be slower.
I’ve left out the main topical disadvantage of the moment so far, but we must mention it. The spread of germs has always been an issue for those using public transport. We’re talking about it more now because of one particular virus. It’s not a new problem and it’s one that may not go away any time soon. People have to breathe, occasionally touch parts of the train / bus, and sometimes even sneeze. All of these things are bad news for the prevention of foreign bodies entering our system. This I feel is the big advantage for the car, or other forms of personal transport.
While I can tolerate public transport for a short commute, for a longer commute I prefer to go by car. Sometimes using the car is faster because I can just drive from my house to the office, without having to go from station to station. It’s more convenient for this reason. It’s also a familiar environment, which can be quite calming after a stressful day in front of a spreadsheet. I found this out when I started a new job I would have to commute for. having the car with me was a source of reassurance in an unfamiliar environment.
Commuting by car is by no means perfect. We have to concentrate behind the wheel. We have to be active for longer during a day as it’s no longer an option to sleep on the way to or from work. If we are stuck in traffic, we may be no better off than if we’d taken public transport. But in this case, I can adjust my stereo. I can adjust the air conditioning or lighting. In a car, we can create an environment to suit our needs far more easily than on public transport. And we can drive straight to our door with no waiting around. If we happen to already own a car, commuting may be cheaper, even with the cost of business insurance and fuel.
So there we are. If you commute long distance, consider using the car rather than public transport. If you have a posher car, it might even come with some tech such as cruise control or lane departure warning that can help take some of the effort out of long journeys. The Focus is easy enough to drive at any speed. And even though mine is the 2.0 petrol, I was still getting around 37-39 mpg on the commute to work, with traffic. For a car of this age, I have no complaints.
But what are your thoughts? As a commuter, what’s you main focus? Could you save money by using public transport, or by getting more use out of the car? Join the family, get in contact and let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!