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Pushing, shoving and getting the flow right

Alice Alice | 16:20 UK time, Tuesday, 9 November 2010

How many of you have a daily commute to work or university? Is it comfortable or very crushed?

Here in the UK we've been told our trains are going to get even more busy as more people switch to public transport, and the population in urban areas grows.

But apparently we're not doing ourselves any favours. A Productivity Consultant Eugene Chinal says we're not very good at getting on and off trains. We waste time and energy. Isn't this obvious?

The most effective way to board a train apparently is:

a. to wait for everyone to get off allowing them lots of space to leave the train
b. keep a consistent flow of passengers getting on
c. don't push even if everyone else is!

So what are your fellow commuters like? Do you feel you're all in it together or do you secretly hate them? I got told off for taking up too much space reading the newspaper last week. And I often tell people off for speaking on their mobiles in the 'quiet carraige' so I think I'm probably not a very nice commuter!

I want to hear about your journeys to work.

Mine: I cycle furiously down to the train station, buy a ticket in the machine and run up and down two flights of stairs until I'm completely out of breath. Then I run down one end of a platform, to a place where I think there might be spaces on the train when it arrives. I do my make-up on the train, write my to-do list and send lots of quiet texts. My journey on the train is about 35 minutes. At the other end, I get a 'Boris bike' to the BBC building and cycle over the Thames admiring the view of St Pauls and the Houses of Parliament.

I'll tell you about 'Boris bikes' later..... do you know what they are?

Now let's hear about your commutes.

Some words and phrases:

crushed - lots of people packed together
public transport - trains, buses, tubes, trams, boats for commuter travel
urban areas - towns and cities
we're not doing ourselves any favours - we aren't making things easier for ourselves
Productivity Consultant - somebody who gives advice on how to do things better and faster
consistent flow - steady stream of people
commuters - people who travel to work
all in it together - we're experiencing a difficult situation as a group
out of breath - exhausted
to-do list - list of tasks you need to finish


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Alice, What a long journey you've to do each day to reach work. Lots of struggle. I got tired just by reading it. My God it's really hard and expensive to travel in London, isn't it? B/W I've heard 'Boris bike' for the first time. I've no idea what it is. I'd like to know about it. You've asked about our journeys to work. Well, I did commute to my work place many times and the experience is not good I got pushed by fellow passengers many times and the bus is always over crowded. I agree we're not doing ourselves any fevours. We must remain patient and calm and must not push anyone. I'm not a very good commuter and had few spats too. This really sucks. So, now I go to my work place through taxi. This is the best solution of my problem. Meanwhile, your're looking very cute in the pic. That's all for now.
    Have a nice day!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Alice I just have discovered this blog and signed up on this web site. My name is Luis and I'm from Colombia. Recently, I've taken up my English studies in order to improve my IELTS score.

    With regard to this post, I commute to work in a large buses called "Transmilenio" in my city Bogotá daily. This transportation method is knowing as Transmilenio System.

    Since I live about forty-five minutes from my house to work then I must use this transpotation system. First, I take a route called F1 and after 20 minutes I left it in a station called Jiménez Avenue. There I must take a new route called D21 and finally, after twenty minutes else, I arrive to my final station called 76 Street.

    During these journeys (I'm not sure if this is a appropriate word) I support crushed and consistent flow because many people use that transport system, in fact the system transport 3 million of persons every day. In peak hours, you feel all in it together and even you will finish out of breath. By the way, What is the difference between rush hour and peak hour?

    Well, I hope that you, Alice or anybody can help me with the grammar an mistakes on this comment.

    Thanks a lot,

  • Comment number 3.

    Wow! I see you start every day with a lot of stress and I guess, like you, thousand of commuters in London.
    I live in Granada, a town in the south of Spain, famous because its historical monuments like Alhambra. Here the problem is neither the crowded public transport nor long distances but the time you have to spend covering them. My town has narrow streets, full of cars and motorbikes, and besides that now we are having a lot of public works everywhere because the future tube-tram is under construction, making even more difficult the traffic in the city.
    So, in the end, commuters in Granada have stress as if we lived in a big city because we have to spend the same time travelling to work.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Alice,
    I am from Prague and I must also use public transport when I go to school and to work. Fortunately, we have quite a good system here. I read somewhere that the public transport in Prague is one of the best in Europe.
    Travelling to school, I use the underground. With one transfer, it takes me around 30 minutes. It is often overcrowded in the rush hours, but usually only in the centre and almost never so much as I can see on your photo. I heard a lot about the underground in London from my friends and I think we can be happy in Prague... Actually, underground is my favourite mean of transport because it is quick, it cannot stuck in a traffic jam etc.
    We also have buses and trams, but I do not like using them in the centre - they are too slow because of lots of vehicles in our narrow streets... But I cannot imagine Prague without our old trams.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Alice!

    What a topical theme you've given us! :)

    Speaking about the current traffic situation in Moscow, our authorities often use the word "collapse", they don't even seek for a Russian equivalent - they just use the "loan translation". If you want to go on weekdays somewhere in Moscow by car, bus or any other means of surface transport, you're very likely to get stuck in a traffic jam. Saying that puclic transport fails to serve so many people is such an understatement. As the result everyone is always in a hurry and nobody cares about good manners.

    As I study in the evening (my classes begin at 6 p.m.) I don't get caught neither in the morning rush hour nor in the evening one (the classes end at 9 p.m.). But I get stuck in traffic jams regularly anyway. If I'm lucky, it takes me an hour and a half to commute to university (I know everybody thinks I'm not in my right mind to spend so much time on the road). The first stage of my journey to universty is to take a bus to get to the metro. The second stage, the metro itself, takes me 50 minutes (fortunately, there are usually no traffic jams in the metro :)). And finally I take another bus to get from the metro to university. When the road is empty and the lights are green, this last stage takes me just five minutes. But alas! The third stage usually lasts 15-20 minutes and if the traffic is paralyzed, it may last 40 minutes (in this case I get off and walk).

    During the second stage of my journey I usually read or learn something for my classes. I've never been told off "for taking up too much space reading the newspaper" because I don't read newspapers ;-) but a friend of mine told me the other day a story similar to yours that happnened to her (a woman told her that "the metro is not a library" and you're not supposed to read there). There are certainly a lot of strange people in this world, don't you think?

    Yeah, hearing someone speaking on their mobile sometimes really gets on your nerves. I wish we had those "quiet carriages".

    I can't answer you whether I'm a good commuter or not but at least I try very hard not to push others. And I do my best not to step on someone else's foot (as I usually wear high-heeled shoes ;-)).

    I'm looking forward to your next post.

    All the best,
    Nastya, Russia

  • Comment number 6.


    It' s my first post so hi Alice and everyone!

    I live in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. I usually go to my work by car. I'm a really lucky person because my company is located outside the city center, so I don't have any trouble to reach this place and traffic jam isn't my problem :). The way to work take me about 25 minutes.
    I used to go to work by bus 2 years ago. I didn't like it.
    Buses in Warsaw are really crowded, especially at rush hours when everybody had to reach work.
    I tried to be a good commuter, I hated when people pushed you because they had to take a seat. The most annoying thing is odor, appear in summer.

    What I remember good is funny situations and of course that you can read a newspaper or book.
    When you work in city center the best and fastest way to go to work is obviously public transport.


  • Comment number 7.

    hi alice
    how are you?
    i live in milan, very beautiful and fashion city but very chaotic.
    i go to the office and the universtiy using the subway every day.
    HELP!!! every day i fell like a sardine in a can.
    people who crushes people, people who read the newspaper, people who do ge too full because nobody in the cub.
    all this is a jungle.
    however the undergound is clean and you can easily reach all points of the city.
    see you next time
    take care

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Alice and everybody
    Interesting and more useful theme
    I live in Baku The capital city of Azerbaijan There is no doubt We have also narrow streets and public transpartation problems especially at rush hours when everybody had to reach work.But we have local joke.When the buses crowded our drivers say to passengers : "BE FRENDLY WE ARE HURRY" and the same time They prove their drivers skills around the narrow streets.Fortunately our public transportation system develops day by day.
    I usually go to work by car It is easly for me but I leave my home very early not to be catch in the traffic.
    Thanks for advance
    Seymur from Baku

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Alice.
    I am from Turin.
    I have to drive in highway for 90 km (go and back) every day.
    The journey take me about 1.45 hour.
    Take the public transport it is impossible because the journey may be take about four/five hours.
    I should take a suburban bus ,other two urban bus ,
    walk for 1 km and after I start to work !

  • Comment number 10.

    my name's Mara and I'm from Italy, north of Italy, this is my first comment ever!! First of all I have to say sorry because my English is not so good, I'm learning it!!
    I read yours comment and I fell so lucky!! every day, to go to work I've just drive for 10 minutes by car... or 13 minutes if the light is red!!!!!
    kisses Mara

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Alice,

    I'm Mauricio from Brazil and I'm very glad to have you guiding us this month.

    I have a very troubled journey to work because I work in four different cities during the week. The furthest one is 86 km far. I have to do these journeys by car because the public transportation system in my area is very poor. It doesn't fit my working time. So I have to spend a great part of my time driving which is very stressing. Besides roads are very poorly maintained. Full of potholes which makes driving even more stressing.

    I wish we had a train system like you have there. It would make things a lot easier for many people here. My city is very small so a lot of people have to leave it to work in the cities nearby. We really deserved a better transportation system. But what can we do. We have to "make do with what we have".

    Best wishes from


  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Alice,

    I live in São Paulo, Brazil and my daily commute to work is very stressfull. I've taken 1h30 to arrive in my work and almost 2 hours to come back to my house. I don't live far away, if doesn't have traffic I will take no more than 40 minutes in this path.
    Every day I wait on the bus stop about 10 or 15 minutes waiting to getting in one bus that isn't so crowd, after this I have to take a subway and stay there about 30-40 minutes crowd too and after take another crowd bus.
    But what can I do, in São Paulo there are a lots of people like me that have to work in downtown and pass for the same situation.
    I tried to be a good commuter and spent my time reading or listening music.
    See you

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Alice!
    What a topical post you've written!
    First of all, I'd like to clear up sense of verb 'to commute'. Did I understand right that it's mostly used only in case when you have to reach your workplace in the town from country? Or may be it's all the same even if you live in town?
    Now, I'd like to tell about transport situation in Russia. Of course, there's a great problem with public transport in urban areas here. Every day you have to choose how to get your job, high school, university, etc. There are three ways to do this: by your own car, by public municipal transport, or by public commercial transport.
    There are no limitations for reaching the downtown by own car excepting traffic jams and lack of parking places in Russia. We have not to pay for going through the town, and there are not toll highways here. Also, you can go alone in your car (I’ve heard that there’re some cities, where you can’t entrance the center if you have no passengers). So, it's not very expensive to go by own car, but it takes a long time to reach a goal and find a place to leave you car.
    Separately, I'd like to tell about taxi. We use taxi very seldom, because it costs too much. But expensiveness is not the one reason of its unpopularity. The second problem is that you have to order taxi beforehand, and it couldn’t be useful. In additions, there are a lot of car owners, who would be happy to give you a lift for a payment, much less than taxi would cost.
    So, after personal cars, there are two most popular kind of transport in big cities here: underground and commercial buses. Commercial buses really have a huge flow of traffic, and it’s everywhere. We call them ‘marshrutka’ in Russia. They’re very useful, because they’re everywhere and it costs just a little bit more than municipal buses.
    My way to job is very short, because I live in the center of Saint-Petersburg, and my job is within a five minute commute from my home. I’m very glad of this fact, because I can let myself to spend my time with my family after work, not being in traffic jam.
    Well, it’s time to go home now ;-)
    Best wishes,
    Ilya from Russia.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Alice,

    I've never been to London so I've seen your red double decker bus only from pictures and movies but I always think about it when I see one of them how can the people get off from the storey if there's crowed in the bus ;)?

    In Budapest there're some busy roads where ususally there's traffic jam so I dont't like going by bus or car I prefer the subway and tram. So I usually go by trolley bus to the tram stop but if the weather's good I go on foot on this short distance because it makes me about ten minutes. Then I get on the tram and I trawel by it about half hour and it's usually crawded in the rush hours. Then I get off and walk to office about five minutes again. I think it's not so bad. When I lived in suburb of Bp the commute took me one and a half hours in the morning and again so much in the afternoon.
    Lots of my friends go by bicycle to work and fortunatelly the number of bike way increases in Bp.
    And the fourth subway line's being built now and I think it'll help the daily journey of people also.

    I'm looking forward to reading about "Boris bikes" :)!

    All the best,
    Ditta, Hungary

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Luis,

    Nice to meet you :).

    I've seen a film about your Transmilenio System. The idea that there's a separate road for the buses is very good. In principle In Budapest also there's a several traffic lane for the buses (and the ambulances and cabs too) but since it isn't drawn a line with real thing for example wall seat it's used by the cars also so it can't work.
    But this system works well at your town, doesn't it?

    I had not seen double articulated bus until I watched that film about Transmilenio System :) !

    Best wishes,
    Ditta, Hungary

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Alice,
    I study and spend all of my week in Toruń, but for my weekend I come back to my home town Włocławek. I don't use public transport not so often. I'd rather ride my bike. It is fast and indpenedent from timetable. The biggest disadvantage is that sometimes, after a long day at university, I don't have a power to cycle.
    Between these two towns I travel by trains. In my opinion trains are the best kind of public transport so I enjoy my weekly journey very much. Nevertheless when I want to arrive at the train station with my huge luggage I have to go by bus. I hate this part of my travel. There are many others with the same size or even bigger bag, so the bus is crowded at all. Once time the bus was so packed that the underbody structure was destroyed and the bus wasn't able to go any further. Funny, but not when you are hurrying up for train. ;)
    Maria, Poland

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi, Alice: What a topic you have chosen! I live inmerse in this problem. I´m fed up with the public transport here in Buenos Aires. Although it´s not a new situation and we are used to travelling in awful conditions, at present the situation is daily chaotic. Overcrowded buses, undergrounds and trains at any time of the day, not only at rush hours plus various traffic jams during the journey. In a few word I think the system is collapsed and apparently very difficult to solve. The means of transport are private but the State subsidies the the price of the tickets that are really cheap, but it costs a lot to the State. In my opinion we conmuters are all in it together, we are hostages of the awful service. I don´t want to claim but unfortunately I couldn´t avoid the topic. The best for you. (with or without means of transport) Beatriz.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Alice,
    I'm Emre from Turkey.I've registered recenly.I'm glad to your writing.(Especially Cheerful news).I would like to tell about our(students)
    bus problem.
    We stay at a dormitory in campus.The campus is far away from İstanbul city
    centre.Sometimes we need something that not buy in the campus.We must go to the city centre.And we use a municipal bus.The buses are the biggest in the city.However,number of bus is not enough for all of the students.Therefore,we must travel like crushed.I usually go with standing.
    I can be tired.This time the situation is quite terrible.That's all for now.Please write my mistake because I must pass the proficiency exam on
    June 2011.Thank you

    I'm glad


  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Alice,
    i am VPan from BJ the captical of China.it is crushed and traffic jam during commute,it almost will takes people more than an hour to daily commute to work in BJ either by public transport or by car.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Alise and commuters all over the world!
    We're all from different countries and cities, but our journeys to work look the same. Getting from home to work and back is just so much difficult with all the traffic and crowds. I've read Nastya's post through carefully and I have nothing to add to it (I'm from Moscow,so is Nastya). Unfortunately the traffic issue isn't readily solved. The only thing we can- keep our patience and not get angry with the commuters. As for me,I prefore walking to any transport in rush hour. One hour walking is much better than 30minutes in an overcrowded underground carriage.
    Good luck

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Alice
    Thanks for your interesting blogs!
    I have read your bloges for several times in the last couple of days.I confess that the way you write is so lively. I enjoy it indeed! And now about my commute: I have just two 8 hours daywork and I use the public transportation system for my daily jorney to work and getting home back. In a short saying, I should say: Most of the time, the people riding on the buses or metro, are struggling hard just to stand on their feet, looking for a way to get rid of the crush they are involved in!!!
    this is the story of a huge city with a large number of people about 18 milions! Can you guess the city? yes, you are right. it is " Tehran "!
    It would be nice if you, Alice or the other friends let me know about the mistakes in my writing.

    Best wishes

    Karoun from Iran

  • Comment number 22.

    Dear Mahjabeen

    I'm sorry I made you tired just by reading my account of my stressful journey to work! I will tell you about Boris bikes soon. How long is your taxi journey and what does it cost? Do you chat to the driver or listen to the radio? I want to know more. Do many people cycle to work or is it too busy on the streets?

    Hi Luis

    Welcome to the blogs! Yes it is correct to say 'during these journeys'. We usually use the term rush hour (even though it usually lasts longer than an hour). 'peak hour' is often used in instructions by train companies eg 'bicycles may not be carried on trains during peak hours - so implies specified times for example, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, whereas the term 'rush hour' doesn't usually start or finish at a precise time.

    Dear Antonio

    You are so lucky to live in Granada - such a beautiful city - but I'm sorry to hear your commute is stressful! When will the tube-tram system be completed - will it make commuting a lot easier for people?

    Hello Tereza

    I think you win the prize for the least stressful commute so far. Congratulations! Are your underground stations very ornate (lots of decoration) or very simple? I imagine Prague should have a very impressive tube system like the city itself.

  • Comment number 23.

    Nastya! Privet.

    Lovely to hear from you. I love the underground stations in Moscow - so beautiful, very ornate - and extremely fast. Are there any plans to build more underground stations to improve the traffic on the roads? I used to be very impressed with the reading material of people using the Moscow metro - maths books and other complicated scientific texts. Is that still true?

    In London the local newspaper once did a survey of people's reading material on the tube. It decided which was the friendly housewife line, the pseudo-intellectuals, the trendy youth line and so on. Very funny!


    Nice to meet you! Do you listen to the radio in the car? Anything interesting on the radio in the rush hour?


    I am picturing you as a sardine in a can - we shouldn't stereotype but I imagine you Milanese are probably very well-dressed sardines.
    I just saw a film about Milan 'I am Love' was the English translation - have you seen it? I hope you had a good commute today and the train wasn't too crowded.

    Best wishes


  • Comment number 24.


    So nice to hear your drivers make jokes and try to make people feel better on their commutes! Drivers round the world should copy their example. There used to be a tube driver in London who would sing Michael Jackson songs and do impressions of famous people over the train's tannoy. It was very funny.


    I think you win the prize for the longest commute so far. I hope you are not exhausted at the end of the week. Do you listen to the radio or music? How do you pass the time?


    Welcome! So nice to meet you. You win the prize for the shortest commute so far! Congratulations. Have you ever thought about walking or cycling or is it not easy where you live?


    Lovely to meet you. I think you are very wise saying 'we have to make do with what we have'. There are some problems we can't solve easily or fast. Your English is excellent. The only error I will pick you up on is please use 'stressful' rather than 'stressing'.


    You poor thing having to spend so long commuting! I hope you get a lot of good reading done on the trains and buses. What are you reading at the moment?

    Best wishes


  • Comment number 25.


    Nice to meet you. I recently heard a radio programme about the origin of the word 'commute'. It came from the United States - a train ticket for several journeys at a reduced price was called a commutation ticket. People from the suburbs who came into the city for work started to be called commuters.

    You are very lucky to have such a short commute! Is 'working from home' becoming more popular in Russia - or do most people still have to come into the city for work?


    Very nice to meet you! Unfortunately most of the buses like the one you can see in the picture above aren't used anymore. They were replaced by one decker buses or 'double deckers' [two storey buses] which are operated by a driver - so you can't just 'hop on' and 'hop off' anymore. It was very sad for Londoners when the old buses left town!

    I'm glad you have lots of cycle tracks in Budapest - it must be a beautiful city to cycle around!


    You are so lucky you can almost completely rely on your bike! I'm sorry your bus collapsed with all the weight of people's baggage. Do they have limits about the size people can take on the bus?

    Best wishes


  • Comment number 26.


    I share your pain! We are hostages to the awful service. Here in the UK our transport prices are extremely expensive. Are you shocked to hear that my train ticket every day is £19.30 - about $30 - 35 US dollars. Isn't that a lot? Does anyone else pay so much for their commute?


    Lovely to meet you. That must be very annoying for you having to travel far to the city in crowded buses. You ask me to correct some of your mistakes: I'm pleased to read your writing, I'm glad to read your posts/blogs - rather than 'I'm glad to your writing'.
    'I would like to tell you about....' 'to tell' needs a personal object after it eg you, me etc.

    Hi VPan

    Nice to meet you! Are you able to use any of the new train lines in Beijing? Have they made commuting easier for people? I lived for a while in Beijing and tried to cycle as much as possible but some journeys were too far. Do you cycle much in Beijing?


    Hello! I agree - we're all from different countries and cities but our journeys to work are pretty similar. Isn't it strange that we waste so much time in our lives getting to and from work? You think ways would have been developed for us to avoid this - like 'staggered' working hours - where people can travel at less busy times not at rush hour, or encouraging working from home. I suppose this is impossible for many jobs, but for some that are it seems like a good idea. Do you work from home? Do you have flexible working hours? It's interesting to know about these things.

    I'm still waiting to hear if anybody spends more money than I do on their daily commute!

    Best wishes


  • Comment number 27.

    Hi everyone !

    As I wrote earlier I go to work by car. When you drive you have good opportunity to listen to the radio stations. My favorite station is Radio Eska (Warsaw). People who create this station are great. Good energy, lots of humor and good music is everything what you need after a tiring day. I just love it!

    Best wishes

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Alice,

    Sorry for my absence. Fortunately i'm here again (^_^)
    I lived in Rio de Janeiro, next to downtown, there is a trafic jam there.
    I spent around two hours (go and back) by train.
    Now, I live in city without a big rush time. I normally spend 20 minutes by car to arrive in my work. Great, isn't ? Now, i have more life quality for me and my family.

    I'm very happy for it !

    Cheers - Natanael - Rio de Janeiro - Brasil

  • Comment number 29.

    By the way Alice,

    You're very nice person !! (^_^).

    Natanael - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Karoun! I am pretty surprised by reading the information about Tehran. 18 milions inhabitants that must be bigger than NY in the USA. My country has five milions in the whole. Best wishes, Marianna, Slovakia

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Alice!

    I get to work by bus and it takes me like 20 minutes. I do not really like when it rains cause all the buses are packed and as almost every passenger carries an umbrella, you could not help but getting wet when you get into the office.

    I saw “I am Love” two months ago and I really liked it. Sadly, it seems the film got better reviews out of Italy. The actress who plays the role of the maid is a remarkable Italian theatre actress. I am going to see her new stage show next month.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Alice,
    Actually, on september I went to Canada and spent one month there in a exchange course and I've bought a lots of book in english to improve my vocabulary, just to help me learn more.
    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Alice,
    It's me again...
    I've just to posted my last post and i'd like to take a glance on it.

    Could you please to send some exemple about Idioms. Like "To take a glance" or "I heard it by the grapevine".

    I like to know some idioms that i can use during a casual conversation.

    First of all, of course, i'd like to see where I wrong.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hi Marianna
    yes, you are right. It's strange somehow, but that's a fact about Tehran the city where I live however, there are some other thickly populated cities around the world.
    Have a look at the Mexico city population and then, let me know if you are still surprised about Tehran. Enjoy your small country and let me know some about it if possible.

    All the best

    Karoun - Tehran

  • Comment number 35.

    Hi Alice,

    I'm the lucky one who works 3 days a week from home. So it takes me just a minute to go to my 'office'. On the other two days I have to travel somehow to Munich. In the most cases my friend gives me a lift to the suburban railway. Usualy it takes about 30 minutes. But it could takes up to one hour if there is a trafic jump on the highway. Then I take the railway until the station next to the office, another 50 minutes. If I travel this way I have to walk for an other 10 minutes to get to the office. If it is too cold or rainy, I usualy leave the railway earlier and take the tube for 4 stations and then the bus. If I'm lucky it costs me 1,45 hours if not, then more. In the evening I usualy take the bus, the tube and then the train to go home. Unfortunatelly, I need to travel from west to east of the city. Sometimes I spent a night at a hotel in Munich and then need just 40 minutes to the office. My longest comute was about three hours to get home. But that is just for 2 days a week.
    I spent about 3 weeks in Irland three years ago. Comparend to bus system there we are very lucky in Germany. In Irland nobody knows when the next bus arrives, there are no time tables or if there are some, only the times of the end stations are give not for the stations in between. Nobody knows to which direction the bus is traveling and the stations are not realy marked. Nobody says the name of the station you are arriving at. If you are traveling at evening you have to stay close to the driver so you can get a hint from him. It was a nightmare to get somewhere. I hope there is a better system in London. At least you have the tube.

    Take care,

  • Comment number 36.

    In Japan, cycling is commonly used for commuting to work. It is common to see a man or woman on the cycle whit their black suit. Company employees wear a black suit in Japan. It is the uniform for them. When I first saw cycling men whit their black suit I was surprised because in Turkey no one get on bicycle whit their suits. In the other hand it is very difficult to see someone dressed in completely a black suit in my country.

    Generally, I walk about 5 minutes to buss stop then I check timetable. Then I turn on tv of my cell phone and listen tv(don’t watch) during the waiting and approximately 15 minutes commuting time. I don’t prefer to use bicycle because I don’t like it. In Sendai, busses sometime could be over crowded. In such cases I listen conversations around me. It is very useful to improve my informal Japanese. It surprise my Japanese friends when I use among them what I learned(or it can be said what I stole) at the buss

    Ali OZTURK

  • Comment number 37.

    Hi Alice and everybody,

    Maybe the Boris bikes have something to do with the London mayor?I was in London last December, and I loved it. Bye.

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi, Alice!
    I can’t say that there’s a trend of increasing quantity of people who working from home. It seems to me, that this way can be used only in case of working with several projects (designing, programming etc.). In this case company may hire freelancers or let employees to do their job being at home. In other situations it may cause a lot of problems with business communications. Looking around in our office, I can’t imagine that someone would be able to do his/her duties from home well enough.
    There’s also one aspect, preventing the spread of working from home. Most people don’t want to do it themselves, because they prefer to realize their involvement in company’s activities. Sometimes this need is more strong then absence of wish to have a long commute.

    Frankly speaking, I don’t want to work from home too. It’s seems to me it would be very difficult to share where your job ends and home begins and vice versa.

    Best wishes,
    Ilya from Russia.

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.

    Privet, Alice! :)

    Thanks a lot that you took pains not only to read but also answer our comments. You are a very considerate teacher.

    You asked whether there were plans to build more underground stations to relieve the difficult traffic situation on the roads and the answer is "yes". As far as I know, by the end of 2011 three new underground stations are to be opened - Borisovo, Shipilovskaya and Zyablikovo. The current programme of development of the Moscow Metro was approved in 2009 and it will be in effect till 2015. I'm not sure how many stations are to be built by the end of 2015 but I think their number will be about ten or even more. There are also some projects to relieve the Koltsevaya line. It's one of the busiest lines (if not the busiest one) because it's situated under the very center of the city. I hope it will make people's commutes less stressful.

    And your second question was about the reading material of people using the Moscow Metro. I myself like observing what my fellow passengers read and I can tell you they read very different books. Women prefer reading fashion magazines, tabloids, detective stories and romance novels. Men often read newspapers. The choice of books of some young men is really interesting - from science fiction to works of ancient philosophers. The choice of students depends on their chief subject so you still can see someone reading maths or economics books. A month ago I saw a girl reading Arthur Hailey's "Hotel" in the original. Many students revise their notes of lectures. And there are people (young and older ones) who read classical literature and poetry in the metro.

    I'm looking forward to your next post.

    Best wishes,
    Nastya, Russia

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi Alice,
    I live in Japan and the public transportation service is very good although a little bit expensive. But it is not as expensive as yours because almost 20 pounds sounds really excessive.
    I commute by bus and taxi. My bus is almost always on time and it takes around 25 minutes to my destination, but from there I have to get another bus and the time schedule for the next one is only of one per hour, so I have to wait almost 35 minutes for it. Taxis are expensive but the distance is short, so I pay around 650 yen (around 7 dollars).
    Japanese like bycicles, but they can also be especially dangerous in rainy days or dark nights. I always wonder how people can cycle while using an umbrella or how they can cycle while they are writing mails in their mobiles. That is a job for acrobats, isnt' it?
    PD. Aliozturk, this world is really small because we are living in the city. I hope to meet you sometime.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Alice,
    About your previous blog, I like the picture of Micronesian Island. Clear blue sky with lots of clouds, blue sea with waves, lots of big trees middle of the sea that must be a living place. It really is a wonderful site to look at it. Thanks to post that picture. It helps us to visualize the imagination of the place. It should be a serenity one and attract the tourists. I also learn to drive at the age of 43. As a male member I should have learnt little earlier. I felt happy when I achieved it after long time. My job is to travel many places in the rural areas and carry out the health services for the poor people. I used to travel by bike and support my team members to do their work efficiently. I found it difficult to travel by bike long distance as I developed back pain. I approached my management to provide loan for getting car to commute. The management was kind enough to provide me a car with petrol allowance as they happy about my work. It is cheerful news for me to share with you.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Alice,
    As I commented my previous one I do not take public transport to reach my work place. If I want to take public transport bus to reach my work spot I have to wait long hour for catching bus. It is not a frequent one. So you imagine how much crowd to take that particular bus. All kinds of pushing and pulling will be there to take the place inside the bus. You are lucky if you get the seat in the bus. Otherwise you have to stand for long time. When I studied under graduation I took public transport bus to reach the collage. But it was a charter bus service. The college students alone used that bus from one particular place to the destination. If anyone especially the girls’ board in that bus without noticing it the students would make all kinds of fun. It was very funny to watch. I would like to tell very thrilling and interesting story. I was going to semester exam when I did my college studies. I realized that I forgot to take my hall ticket when I boarded the charter bus. I got off and I rushed to take the public transport bus to reach home. I was trying to catch the bus while it was running. The time was short otherwise I would not reach the examination hall on time. Suddenly the driver was riding the bus very fast while seeing me boarding into the moving bus. I was hanging on the footboard for few seconds. If I had left it my life would have been danger. Everyone was shouting and the driver finally stopped the bus. I was relieved. The driver asked me the reason why I was boarding the bus while it was moving. He didn’t accept the reason I told him. I felt very shame after that. I have never taken bus while it is moving after that incident.

  • Comment number 44.

    Hi Alice,
    Yes it seems exhausting your daily transportation.
    I go and return from work by bus. It takes about half an hour including the waiting time. Usually I have to wait for a seat and the last part of the distance I can be seated.
    Can you explain the expression tell off?
    What I don´t like of going by bus is that lately in most of them there is loud music, it depends of the preference of the driver but in general it is disturbing. Also everybody is using their cellphones, so you have to hear their personal affairs.
    If I am in a hurry to go to another place I take a taxi but it is not possible to take every day because of the cost.
    Wait for your next post.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hi there ...
    I just poped in to say congratulation for the number of the comments .Dear Alice you hit the nail with choosing the nice subject for your new entry .... I can see how most people all over the world are suffering for their daily transportation …

    ok ... I Think I 'm the lucky one because my work drive only just take about fifteen minutes .I live in a small city ( Ardebil ) which public transformation are just over load slowly buses and taxis .

    I 'm wondering if you know that in some countries taxis usually don't pick up just one person in a drive to destination so the cost as the result is less . I saw your question from my friend , Dear Mahjabeen .... It will be really funny to have a friendly chat with some drivers for me ....:):):) .... I can see how things are different
    It was interesting to know how people in Moscow read different material ...
    When I was students long long time ago I had to use buses to go from my dormitory in city center ( in Tabriz ) to my university which usually took half hour .
    Sorry for my big delay for commenting …. I 'm wondering if you saw my first comment or not ?
    Waiting to read your new entry with maybe some photo of your family
    Have a nice weekend
    Pary from Iran

  • Comment number 46.

    Hi paulraj ,
    How are you ? It 's really nice to read your comments fter such a long time no see no hear ….
    Please keep going the good job of commenting . By the way how are your family and what about your job …
    I 'm wondering if you remember me or not ….
    Pary from Iran

  • Comment number 47.


    I live in a small town in Hungary. Usually I go to work by bicycle-I love biking! It's very calming and I can think over all my day. It's easier to stop anywhere, I don't have to pay for parking.
    But during winter, and when it's raining I drive to work. I'm not really fond of driving, but I can listen to music, study languages-so it can be useful.
    I'm so sorry for those people who spend hours on roads, or in crushed buses. I love London, but it's too crowded, too busy, too noisy for me.
    I prefer small, friendly towns.

    by, Eniko

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi~Dear all~I'm Annie.
    This is my first time to play BBC Blog.

    I live in a big city in Taiwan. Usually I go to work by bus, because it's faster and cheaper than if I go to the MRT. The worse of all, the bus always overcrowded in the rush time, and then I usually stand next to the door. It's really dangerous. Sometime I thought, why the bus driver doesn't limit the number of load, or increase the number of bus.

    Despite it, I love my city and country very much.^^
    Sincerely, by Annie

  • Comment number 49.

    Dear Carossi,
    Do you live in Sendai? I think it is nice to meet you. What a nice blog. We can make friends:) Where are you from? Japanese? Masaka!

  • Comment number 50.

    Dear Aliozturk,
    It has been a nice surprise to know that we are sharing city and blog.
    Yes, I live in Sendai. No, I am not Japanese, I am a foreigner like you.
    Not many "gaijin" around here, so the probability to meet is high, isn't it? Maybe in Ichibancho in the next street Gospel festival or in Jozenji dori while watching the New Year "Sendai pageant of starlights".
    Yoroshiku oneigaishimasu.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear Carossi,

    I will be bus stop in front of Ayumni Books in Ichibancho street at morning around 8 oclock. OK city is same but for blog I am not sure. Where are you from. Italy?

    I am master student of the Tohoku University, in Aobayama Campus. I stay in mantion at the Kitamemachi.

    What about you?

    Hope to see you.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi, Alice and everybody

    I just regisitered and eagerly want to make comments about my journey

    I live in Guangzhou, China. I think most of you have heard of it. Maybe some of you have visited here. Anyway let's go back to the topic.

    In Guangzhou traffic is terrible, I just want to use this word to express this situation. It's about 16 KM from my home to workplace. Normally it takes about 90 minutes to finish this journey. you can imangine the situation, 16KM,90 minutes.

    My commute can be divided into two parts. Firstly I take a bus spending about 35-45 minutes to reach the Metro. I will make first transfer after about 10 minutes(5 stations). I want to mention more here about 1st transfer. Usually a lot of people wait here for interchange. When the train comes people fight their ways into it out of order. In many cases we are all packed like sardine, no any space and you can't even make a turn. Then it also takes about 10 minutes(5 stations) to 2nd transfer. What annoys us is that it often costs us about 10 minutes waiting for the train. Then after one station I get out of the Metro and take about 5 minutes to my office

    Fortunately, new Metro lines started in this month because of Asian Game and I only need to spend 10 minutes to the Metro and about 25-30 minutes underground. That's better than before.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Aice :-)
    how are you? i'm well and always crusched like a sardine. :-)
    sorry but i don't know a movies that you have reported me.
    i'm starting to feel a Xmas time.
    crowded the streets, every day, the shops full of light and color.
    the crowded subway.
    are you thinking to Xmas time? how is your hometown during Xmas time?
    see you soon

  • Comment number 54.

    Dear Aliozturk,
    It seems that we are not only sharing city and blog but also university, because I got my postdegree, long time ago, in Kawauchi campus.
    If you are taking your bus from Ayumi books it will be always crowded, so you should walk toward the station, around three minutes from there, and take your bus from the pool buses. Sure you will find free seats and it will always depart on time.
    Have a nice day.
    PD. I am not from Italy, although my grandmother was Italian.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Alice,

    This is my first participation in you blog...
    I want congratulate you, I think that all your topics are very interesting.
    I'm learning english, and I love read your articles.

    Best Regards from Mexico

  • Comment number 56.

    Dear all,
    I think if you have visited Thailand, you will know exactly that my country, especially in bangkok has a mojor peoblem of traffic jam in the rush hours. Unluckily, I have no choices for my travel to the university which is far from my house around 20 kilometers. I must use the public transport, for example bus, taxi or even public motorcycle. The public motor cycle picks me up to the university with the fastest journey of around 1 hour. However, I have been very exhausted since I studied in the university.
    Best wishes,


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