Commuting is a way of life for many of us globally. In the UK, the average Brit will reportedly spend 400 days of their life commuting to work>; in Singapore, an average worker spends 84 minutes a day on public transport. While you’re commiserating the length of your own daily commute, spare a thought for Gary Egan, who’s daily commute is the longest in Britain: he travels nearly 100,000 miles per year, waking at 3.30am to drive a 366 mile round trip from South Wales to Watford.
But not all commuting has to be squeezing onto a packed train, or behind the wheel of your car, there are alternatives to the standard commute, and people all over the world can be quite innovative with their methods to avoid the daily crowds, traffic jams and general stress:
Did you know the word ‘commuter’ was invented in America in the 1840s? People living in the suburbs paid reduced or ‘commuted’ fares to use the train at peak times – BBC
In a country as large as the US, some creativity might sometimes be needed in getting to work on time. Heidi and Ashley Benedict from Cordova, Illinois, constructed their own hovercraft to cross the Mississippi river to work every morning.
It took six months to build, and utilises two old lawnmower engines, saving the sisters an hour and a half in their daily commute: “We could make it in less than five minutes if we came straight home, but we almost never do. We head out, hit the beach, have some fun. It’s a great way to relax after work.” – Heidi Hill
Commuters in California spend 104 hours each year stuck in traffic – Forbes
One teacher in Malappuram, India, will not let anything keep him from reaching his students – not even a river! Each day, Abdul Mallik wades through neck-high water to get to the primary school where he’s worked for over 20 years. He says “If I go by bus, it takes me three hours to cover the 7.5-mile distance”.
A London office worker who was sick of the city’s prices discovered that he would spend less commuting to his job from Spain and in May 2015, he decided to move there!
Sam Cookney now lives in the centre of Barcelona, where he catches a cheap flight to London’s Stansted Airport each morning, reaching his desk by 9.30am – and he’s still saving money. His 1500-kilometre commute takes five and a half hours one way, but Sam says he’s able to sleep on the plane. The combined cost of his Barcelona rent and travel expenses comes to £2075 ($2724) a month – an impressive £669 ($878) less than he would be paying to live in London.
68% of Australians commute to work by car – Australian Bureau of Statistics
Sam isn’t the only Londoner who looked for alternative ways to avoid the UK capital’s exorbitant costs. George Bullard regularly paddles from his home in East London to his workplace in Wandsworth, in an inflatable kayak named Kevin. The commute takes 1.5 hours, but George is happy to take the scenic route. “What a way to turn a fairly grim journey into the best part of the day. I started loving my commute! How many people can say that?” – George Bullard, source.
“The average UK worker will spend 400 days of their life commuting, which is enough time to listen to the Beatles’ back catalogue 990 times.” – TotalJobs.com
Of course, there is always an alternative to all those hours spent commuting – remote and flexible working. Creating a working environment which eliminates the need of a commute altogether, and even for those who still choose to work from cafes or co-working spaces, the commute becomes much shorter and simpler. Working off-site at least once a week decreases your overall commuting time, not to mention helps to relieve stress.
We can’t help you decide on what the best mode of transport is for your daily commute, but according to TotalJobs.com you’ll have 400 days (during your lifetime of commuting) to listen to music, read a book, listen to a podcast, read a blog, knit a scarf, play Candy Crush, learn a new language, complete a cross word.