My recent switch from car driver to passenger on a train has been relatively straightforward after four months of commuting. I quite enjoy it. No car parking hassle, nor are there any worries about keeping awake during the drive. I can simply doze, drift off, or read with someone else driving the vehicle (preferably the train driver).
On the first day the journey took an inauspicious three hours after a train was cancelled, another was late and so forth. Since then, no problems. It appears to me that commuting by train – vis-à-vis using public transport – and getting about by foot or cycle is a far more sociable form of travel than driving by car, which is comparatively isolating. I found that being cooped up in a car was claustrophobic and stressful.
For anyone wishing to do the same as me, and swap the car for the train, these are my top tips:
- Not counting the number of stations until the end of your journey makes it more tolerable if you are feeling impatient
- Careful planning is required in terms of knowing timetables and budgeting
- Use of a calendar for budgeting awareness and knowing when I am on campus
- Calculate your journeys week by week
- Generally speaking, the costings are more transparent costings rather than the unpredictable world of fuel
Unintended consequences mean that I have lost the desire to drive a car, and predictably, the confidence to drive a car, before becoming disconnected from something I had previously taken for granted. Nowadays virtually all my local journeys are done by cycling, even shopping trips, and this directly contributes to my overall wellbeing. I am happier, more relaxed, and fitter as a result. Plus, I am no longer claustrophobic.