Reliability

life

I've been thinking about how people make decisions about their daily journey options lately. My commute by bicycle is about 7 miles each way, and at a very gentle, non-sweat-inducing pace takes about 50 minutes, door to door. The corresponding journey by foot and then train takes about 25-30 minutes door to door -- on a good day. And that's the problem; the train system is so unreliable that on about 4 of 10 journeys each week, you can expect the trip to take up to 50 minutes. That's still a shorter total journey time over a week, but the problem is that you can't plan properly if you go on the train. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, you really have to aim to get the train before the one that would get you to your destination on time. Because on a non-significant number of occasions, your train will be late and so will you. That means that you end up losing about 50 minutes each way anyway, because of allowing extra time.

The cycle journey make take longer, but (barring rare punctures or mechanical failures) I know how long it will take to within a couple of minutes, and I know that if I leave on time, I'll arrive on time. This was brought home to me on Wednesday, when I had to get the train in after a couple of days of cycling. The train was (of course) delayed, and I stood fuming on the platform, worrying about being late for a meeting and wishing that I could be pottering steadily along on my bike. None of this will be news to those of you who suffer the slings and arrows of our outrageous public transport system.

There was, however, a gorgeous sunrise, so I could at least amuse myself by taking some photos while I was waiting.

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