The Commute

Published on 26 February 2005 in , , , , , , , , ,

So it’s been five days working in W12 in an office which has large atriums going right the way through the building. And as I work on the top floor (the fifth) my mild vertigo tendencies are having a field day.

Then there’s the food which seems to be extremely expensive in the few retail outlets we have which is why on Wednesday I resounded to take food with me to work at least once a week – there’s a home cooked biriyani in the freezer just waiting for that one.

But bar these minor gripes, all is reasonable bar one thing – the commute.

In five and a half years of living in London I have only ever reduced my commute time. In October 1999 I was doing one and a half hours each way – Ealing to Shoreditch. Not good. Later I got down to about an hour and ten minutes when I got a job at Bank.

Then when I joined the BBC it went down to an hour. Later I moved house and got down to about fifty five minutes. Moving to Colliers Wood saw the commute being pretty similar.

Since moving offices to W12 it’s shot up again. At best it’s been 70 minutes, at worst near 95.

And it’s not just the time – it’s the faffing around. Even the easiest route involves changing tube three times. The other three possible routes can add buses, trams or overland trains into the mix, and even Clapham Junction.

Obviously at the minute I’m experimenting but even so, it’s not exactly a relaxing commute and doesn’t exactly put me in a good mood when I get to work, or indeed when I get home.

The problem is ultimately down to sheer location. W12 is an appalling place to get to from South London:

  • the Central Line runs right through it but that’s only any use really if you’re coming from the west or east, and it’s also rather slow at parts.
  • The Hammersmith and City Line is trundle-tastic and no use unless you’re coming from a northerly direction and even then you have to walk from Shepherds Bush Green – might be okay when they finally open the new White City station in 2007 when it will make the journey to Hammersmith a little easier than the roads
  • The West London Line runs in the area from Clapham Junction but there are only three trains an hour and until a new station is opened in Shepherds Bush, the nearest station is Kensington Olympia and the BBC shuttle bus only connects with two of those trains.
  • Buses – lots of them. But the traffic is bad round Shepherds Bush Green, and Hammersmith Bus Station whilst fine for the user, is clearly overcrowded for the buses. Plus none of them seem to connect anywhere useful for me.

Which is why I’m losing at least an extra half an hour a day to commuting and it’s not even a cosy, relaxing commute and it does make you think that there’s more to life than travelling to work…