Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Commuting to Staines

With my work office moving an extra 12 miles down the road you would think that that isn't much further to warrant any issues. Until you realise those 12 miles takes the office inside the M25 and towards Heathrow... Commuter belt from hell....  Given the last 15+ years all my roles in all the companies I've worked at have meant an 8 mile commute in various directions you can imagine the prospect of a drive towards London of about 20miles not too exciting in my book. But I love my job and the company I work for so nothing more to it then to give it a try.

Week 1 Day 1: 
I tried the public transport option. Now whilst I only live 3 miles outside a large town the bus service is 1 an hour except at 723 when there is another 20mins later (this must be for the rush hour). So I got the 7:23 which arrived at the station just as the 7:33 train pulled away (which I expected given the timetable)... Got myself a coffee and waited for the next train which was nicely on time. The 7:56 gets in to Staines at 8:28 and by the time I had walked down the platform and over the bridge to the exit the shuttle bus had left (promptly at 08:30) so I waited for the next which basically got me into work just after 9am... Having left my house at 7:15 this meant a 1hr45min journey - not the best and even being stuck in traffic it would be quicker (although likely to be more stressful). In order to make the bus journey on the way home I needed to get the 16:53 train (a very short day in the office) so getting the 16;40 shuttle thought it would be ok.... Except I got to the station as the train pulled away. The next train at 17:11 was slightly late so there was no hope of connecting with any bus the other end. A text home to confirm pick up required from Wokingham. I finally got home (with a lift not a bus) by about 18:00... So return journey was 1hr20mins which was better but involved no bus (the next bus was 50mins later.... I could have walked in that time had I been wearing the right shoes!)

Total cost £20, total time 3hr05min

Old journey total time 1hr and cost a couple of quid (we have a very fuel efficient car!)

Cost to the company as well.... Given the proximity of the last office my working hours tended to stretch out to 9hours a day.... Not so on day one .... 

Week 1 Day 2:
The drive.... Having spoken to various people it definitely is worth either coming in very early and leaving early or late late. For day 2 I decided to go for a morning swim before the commute so left after the rush hour (note the traffic is very light at the moment due to school holidays). I left Wokingham at 9am and using the Waze App on my phone was told the drive was clear and would be approx 40mins. So coffee in cup off I set. The drive was indeed a breeze and I got to work around 9:40 as predicted. I worked until 18:45 and Wazed my way home in 35mins (no traffic at all)

Total cost in diesel and wear/tear approx £5. Total time return journey 1hr 20mins. Working hours also extended to 8+

I would love to use public transport for the journey but clearly given the above two days evidence this is not the most efficient use of my time and resources. Thankfully we do have a very energy efficient and environmentally friendly car (as environmentally friendly a car can be). 

The remainder of last week I drove after the rush hour (ie late late days) which enabled me to get my exercise in in the morning before work, have a productive day at work and not a stressful, traffic engulfed journey.

Week 2 Day 1:
Still keen to asses public transport I decided that the bottle neck of last week was the bus service (lack of and timing) so I decided to get on my commute bike (including pannier!). Left home around 7:10 and could have made the 7:26 train had I not decided to get a coffee... In fact I could have made it even then but given there was another at 7:33 which would be emptier I decided to get that.... And then that train was late... But still I was at Staines by around 8:15 so plenty of time to make the 8:30 shuttle and so in to work by about 8:45. Journey time of 1hr35mins.... I think had I made the 7:26 I would have been on the work shuttle at 8 so in work by 8:15... This will be the quickest mode of public transport I think.

On the way back I still decided to again get the 1640 shuttle which was at the station in time for the 16:53!! In to Wokingham by 17:30 and by the time I lugged myself and pannier (now heavier with my laptop in) it was just before 18:00.... So home journey was  around 1hr15mins with good connections/ timings

Total time today 2hrs50mins cost £15:20 but with the added benefit of extra fitness and total of 30mins of heavy cycling!

Today I'm working from home, everyone is a winner except I like working in an office connecting with my colleagues in sales and operations is something not only do I need to do for my job but which gives me a sense of family at work!

Still to test out on my Staines adventure is; run commute (!! That is very keen).... Early early drive... And then I will test it all again once the schools are back.... The commute whilst kind of epic in time is fairly straightforward and not too stressful... The drive is not as bad as I feared so I'm hopeful this can work!