We like hearing all about other people's commutes — we're nosy like that — whether it's a lengthy train journey in from the Home Counties, a tube ride across London, or a 20 minute walk, door to door. Today, travel with us from Tonbridge in Kent to Old Street, with 27 year old journalist Laura.
What route do you take and which methods of transport do you use?
I get a Southeastern train direct from Tonbridge to London Cannon Street. I'm quite unusual compared to most Londoners in that I don't use the tube or bus, mainly because it would cost more. From Cannon Street I walk up to my office in Old Street, which is about 25 minutes.
How long does it take?
The train journey takes about 45 minutes station to station, but the walk either end adds to it. I walk about half an hour to Tonbridge station, and then 25 minutes from Cannon Street to the office. So each journey is just under two hours each way. I get through a lot of books.
How long have you been doing this commute for?
This time round, about a year. Before that, I lived in Peckham for over a year, but prior to that, I was doing this commute for two and a half years. Although my Tonbridge commute is significantly longer than when I lived in Peckham (Peckham Rye - Shoreditch on the Overground), I prefer it — it's less chaotic, and I can get stuck into a book.
Do you usually get a seat?
Thankfully yes, except on those days when there's mass disruption to the trains. The train I usually get in the morning isn't scheduled to arrive into London until after 9am, so it's a bit later than most rush hour commuters and therefore a bit emptier. On the way home, I get on at the first stop, so unless I'm really late, there's usually a seat available.
How much does it cost?
A monthly season ticket from Tonbridge to London costs £406.30 (that's just trains, not a Travelcard so no tubes or buses included). Thankfully, I work from home a couple of days a week so just end up buying daily return tickets. That's £31 a day, but I was really lucky to get one of those gold dust 26-30 Railcards when they were released earlier this year, so I pay £20.45 each day.
Just the usual Southeastern grumbles. We were led to believe that once the new London Bridge station had been unveiled, delays would be eliminated, but despite the addition of the Bermondsey Dive-Under and various declarations about "untangling the tracks outside London Bridge", we still find ourselves sitting outside it, listening to announcements about "Congestion in the London Bridge area" on a daily basis. That said, I know I'm lucky compared to Southern and Thameslink passengers who have had far more to complain about recently that I have.
Any regular characters or commuting friends?
Humans, no, but there is a dog I look out for. He gets on at Hildenborough stations most mornings if I'm on the later train, and sits with his human 'parents'. He's so well behaved. Some days he gets off with his 'dad' at London Bridge, and other days he stays on with his 'mum' until Cannon Street — I guess he's welcome at both their workplaces and splits his time between the two. Hot desking, canine-style.
Want to contribute details of your journey to our What's Your Commute? series? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.