10 Ways To Be The Boss Of Your Train Commute
The daily commute.
Whether you get the bus or the train, walk or drive, each mode of transport has its own inconveniences. The train systems often test your patience with delays, strikes and cancellations and you can’t prevent these unexpected issues.
Still, by following these ten tips, you should be able to cope a little better with the trials the trains throw at you.
Check the number of stops
There are usually multiple trains which all lead to the same destination via different routes. By choosing the train with the least stops before your destination, your journey time should be shorter. Sometimes a later train will actually get you there earlier than the train before it by bypassing some of the stops.
Choose your carriage carefully
Despite only an estimated 3.5% of commuters in England travelling by train, anyone who does it knows how packed the carriages get in rush hour. But there are places which are slightly less crammed: the end carriages. Walk down the platform while you’re waiting for your train to give yourself the best chance of some breathing space.
If you need to change trains along the way and the timings are tight, position yourself towards the middle of the train as these carriages will stop closer to the steps to other platforms.
Mind the gap
The yellow lettering on the platform edge spelling ‘mind the gap/step’ was written to encourage people to keep safe and avoid accidents. But it serves a dual purpose to the savvy commuter: these signs are positioned where they are most useful for their intended role – that is, in front of the train doors.
You can predict with reasonable accuracy where the doors on the incoming train will stop by taking heed of these words. Position yourself accordingly to be first on the train and grab one of the few available seats.
Go earlier than necessary
There’s a train leaving from your local station that will get you to work in perfect time – great. But what happens when this train is delayed or cancelled? It’s unprofessional and usually unacceptable to turn up late for work. So go for the previous train that’s slightly earlier to allow plenty of time for train mishaps. If you’re early you can always grab a coffee or turn up to the office ahead of time and look keen in front of your boss!
If your train pulls into platform 2 at 8:30, you’re unlikely to make it across to platform 8 in time to catch the 8:31. Save yourself the stress, sweat and frustration of sprinting through the station only to see your next train pulling away into the distance. Be realistic when planning your connections and give yourself enough time to change trains.
Know your options
Sometimes, no matter how well you plan your journey, something happens which means your Plan A cannot go ahead. In these cases, you need alternative options to ensure you make it to work somehow. Be aware of alternative routes via train, bus or foot in case an unforeseen incident stops you in your tracks. Apps like Citymapper come in handy in times such as these.
Check before you leave
There are plenty of websites such as Trainline and National Rail Journey Planner which have apps to provide live updates on trains. These updates will give you plenty of warning if your train has been cancelled, or show the exact number of minutes the train is delayed by.
Of course, this doesn’t stop your journey from being disrupted, but it does give you advanced warning to help you work around it.
Buy your tickets in advance
Train companies offer a range of flexible options for purchasing tickets in advance including weekly and monthly tickets and unlimited oyster card access. These season tickets are not only time savers, allowing you a few more precious moments in bed in the morning, but are much cheaper too.
Have your ticket ready
Don’t be that person. As you approach the barrier, save yourself the frantic fumble for your ticket or card by storing it in an accessible location. An effective storage place could be in a small card pouch separate from the sea of gift and supermarket loyalty cards in your main wallet or purse. With your ticket ready in your hand, you’ll practically glide through the ticket barriers.
Your commute will pass a lot quicker if you occupy yourself during your journey rather than mindlessly scrolling down Instagram and Facebook, wasting precious phone data and battery. Instead, engage in something something mentally stimulating like reading a book or newspaper, listening to a podcast or completing a puzzle. This will free your mind of the stresses of the working day and help you feel more productive and satisfied.
You may be a little way off becoming the boss of your company, but by following these tips, you can become the boss of your train commute and make the monotonous journey to and from work a little more bearable.