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The reality of your commute...

(215 Posts)
happyfrogger Fri 31-Jan-14 14:54:32

In the big scary business of thinking of moving house, we are caught up in 'only 40 minutes to London by train' type towns. Wow - quick!! If you live on the train doorstep, work at Waterloo station and can start work at 9.45. In reality I guess this also can mean a 15 minute drive to the station through eugh traffic, 20 mins on the tube at the other end, another 10 minute walk to the office etc etc... before you even factor in who's dropping who off, school runs, childminders and so forth.

In reality, where do you commute from and is it hell or worth every second to live out of the big smoke? Can you park at the station? Can you get a seat and use the time on the train? Is commuting realistic with both parents working in London + school runs??

FWIW we're considering being Surrey - London commuters...

coffeeinbed Fri 31-Jan-14 14:55:43

It's a bad day to be asking TBH.
It's been a fucking nightmare today.

juniperjane Fri 31-Jan-14 15:13:12

You can queue for 20 mins just to get on the platform for the Waterloo and City line at peak times .......

Treats Fri 31-Jan-14 15:19:46

We drive 5 mins to the childminder to drop the children off and leave the car outside their house. Of course we could walk but a) it cuts down the stress of all having to get out of the house (doesn't matter if they're not wearing coats and shoes) and b) it saves us a good 20 minutes. The children get plenty of exercise later in the day.

Then we walk 15 minutes to the station - we could get the bus but it would only save about 5 minutes, and if it's not raining the exercise and fresh air are welcome.

Train is 30 minutes into London Waterloo. I then get the tube to London Bridge where I work. I'd say tube and walk take me about 20 mins from Waterloo.

DH works in Stratford and gets the W&C and then the Central Line. Takes him about the same amount of time from Waterloo (shorter walk).

We tend to manage it so that one of us drops off and the other collects so that we're not both late in and then leaving early.

When you think about what's involved it seems a bit scary but once you start doing it, everyone gets used to the routine.

AlpacaPicnic Fri 31-Jan-14 15:38:44

I have been known to do a dry run of a potential commute, at roughly 'rush hour' times, just to get a feel for what it's like, where the problems may occur etc...

It might not get practical if you are many miles away... But I found it very useful and helped me to make my mind up about things.

newgirl Fri 31-Jan-14 15:42:44

Factor in car parking costs if you driving to station - can be £7 a day

Peak trains can be standing only - try one at 830 ish so you know - tend to be better on way home

Think about what do you do if train not working - happens now and then - is there another way home?

smartiepantsgirl Fri 31-Jan-14 15:47:25

Not in Surrey but to give you an idea, drive 5 miles to station, £5 to park, 45 mins into London mainline station and then a 10 mins brisk walk to the office. I count myself very lucky that I can avoid the tube.

turkeyboots Fri 31-Jan-14 15:52:26

10 mins to station car park. 5 to 20 mins fighting with car park ticket machine. 1 hour on train (and the last stop to have guaranteed seat on train. 15 to 30mins tube to work. 10min walk from tube station. 2hours on a good day.

On a bad day can take hours and hours.

PenguinsDontEatKale Fri 31-Jan-14 15:54:32

I loved London, but you need to work out the reality of the commute. TLF journey planner isn't bad.

I was '15 minutes from London Bridge' if I took the train. The reality of my commute was an hour, often longer.

PenguinsDontEatKale Fri 31-Jan-14 15:55:13

Oh, and if you need to park at a mainline station, factor in how crazy early you have to arrive at that station to get a parking space as well as the cost.

ChocolateWombat Fri 31-Jan-14 15:57:15

I do this occasionally and to be honest, occasionally is enough. I live in a Surrey town with that kind of commute. 15 mins to get to either school or childcare and then station. £5.50 for the carpark, if you are lucky enough to have access to one that is available to non season ticket holders. If not, add 10 mins for finding parking and walking to station. Should be 35 mins on train....but who knows when someone is ill on the train etc. chances of a seat are about 50%. Then a tube ride takes about 8 mins and finally about 7 mins walk from there. By the time you get there, you feel like you've done a days work.
Don't think it would suit me on a daily basis, but I know people do it for 40 years and sometimes there is no choice.
If you can live within walking distance of the station and save the effort of parking, even if you have to walk a bit, I think that would make a difference. Worth the extra housing cost if you can afford it...and houses near stations always sell well.

Halsall Fri 31-Jan-14 16:08:14

I work in London, live in Home Counties with a c. 30-min train journey. We live a few miles from the station, too far to walk so have to drive and park. Parking there is expensive (£6 per day peak). But at the moment there's work going on and a lot of spaces are blocked by temp works buildings.

Parking is now a nightmare. Forget it if you're any later than 8.30 am. No parking allowed in nearby surrounding streets, residents hovering to harangue anyone who tries it. The whole situation has become seriously stressful.

So I'd look v v carefully at this angle because however lovely the move (and I would actually say go for it, we do like living out of London!), you really want to avoid these niggly-but-important things that can insidiously take over.

LightsPlease Fri 31-Jan-14 16:10:26

Ten minute walk to station. One hour on the tube. Walk across the road to work. I hate it.

Hayleyh34 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:14:16

I live in Surrey, work in London. Take two overland trains and then a 30 min walk. Leave at 7 to get in for 8:45 and the train to Waterloo is often standing room only.

My DH works locally and takes our DD to school and then picks her up from the childminder in the evening. My commute takes longer than I anticipated because of waiting for connecting trains

ExcuseMeButtingIn Fri 31-Jan-14 16:15:20

My DP commutes from Warwickshire every day - he leaves the house at 7.15 and gets into the office about 8.30, train fare is about �7k a year though sad

SpottyDottie Fri 31-Jan-14 16:15:39

Why did I read the title of this thread as 'The reality of your commode' ??

Halsall Fri 31-Jan-14 16:22:16

Oh, and I second the suggestion upthread that you try to find somewhere that allows for a decent back-up route to work. Our train company is notoriously poor and there are delays/cancellations more often than you'd believe. Thank God we have another line within a 15-min drive, it's saved my life many times.

I'm not doing a very good job of insisting we like living outside London, am I? grin

happygirl87 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:27:26

St Albans to London- "a twenty minute journey".

Takes me ten mins to get to station, 2 to get across bridge, 38 mins on a fast train to London Bridge (up to about 55 on a slow one, and they're often delyed by ten mins), ten mins to get on the tube, 10-15 mins on the tube, and then a ten minute walk at the other end. To avoid being late for a 9am start I need to leave the house at 7.20, on a day where all goes well. Week before last there was a wiring fault and it took me 4 hours to get in.

God I miss living in zone 2.

Zoidberg Fri 31-Jan-14 16:37:02

DP and I both commute tho I do 3 days. I love where we live and never wanted to live in London so that helps my attitude.

The reality of my commute is leave house at 7.25, walk to station buying coffee on the way, get there some minutes before 7.40 train. Always get a seat usually at front of train. spend an hour and 8 minutes writing a story/doodling creative ideas in notebook/catching up on texts to friends/reading/some daydreaming out the window is good for the soul.

Arrive slightly later than planned but usually before 9. Three stops on the tube, 5 mins walk, get to desk before 9.30 which is my start time.

Do worthwhile enjoyable work at prestigious institution grin

Leave at 3.45 allows bags of time to get to station, train gets to home station at 5.20

DP drops DD at school breakfast club, previously nursery, at 8 and gets home correspondingly later tho often 6.30.

Going to stop now as this feels v long but basically I feel it's doable but prefer working half time to take the pressure off us all-so not all out of the house 11 hours a day 5 days a week.

abigailj Fri 31-Jan-14 16:48:00

Don't hate me, but I drop the doc off at nursery at 8, then cycle 20 minutes through oxford to work. Best part of my day.

abigailj Fri 31-Jan-14 16:49:40

Sorry, that should read DC

MoreBeta Fri 31-Jan-14 16:51:55

I commute from the kitchen to the sofa most mornings. I then work (honest I do) from that sofa.

<am I being helpful?>

ineedabodytransplant Fri 31-Jan-14 16:53:34

How about half hour walk to the station as there is no car park, I'm at the station for 0610, 90 min train into Waterloo, tube to Green Park, second tube to St Pancras, then 10 minute walk to the office? Then reverse at night.

I did that every working day for seven months last year. Eventually they agreed I could work from home 3-4 days a week. Much more efficient, especially as it just needs one hiccup and the journey gets worse.

Rockdoctor Fri 31-Jan-14 16:56:19

Another thing to think of if you are both commuting is who is going to deal with any emergencies at school/nursery if you are both 2 hours away.

MissRee Fri 31-Jan-14 16:56:30

I live in Kent and commute by coach, getting off at Aldgate and walking to Liverpool Street. I get on the coach (2 min walk from my house) at 7am and get to work at 8.30am (sometimes 10 mins earlier, sometimes 10 mins later).

I would never go back to the ridiculous expense and faff of getting the train ever again!

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