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Dave Beans

The Six Hour Commute

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25551393

For many people commuting is a modern-day necessary evil. But for some, a six-hour journey is time well spent.

A previous Magazine article reported that the definition of an extreme commuter was anyone whose return journey to work amounts to three hours and above.

Several readers got in touch to say they had regularly gone above and beyond this. Here are the most extreme examples.

Brussels to Paris

Distance: 188 miles (303km)

Durations: Six-hour round trip

Mode of transport: Car four times a week, train once a week

Malcolm Howe: "Until seven years ago my daily commute involved a round trip from Brussels to Paris. Four days a week I would go by car, which was three hours each way. The French motorway is a straight line.

"To break up the monotony I took the TGV once a week. The speed limit on the motorway was 130km/h (81mph) and the TGV would speed past it and we'd all get seats. I'd do the train journey in one and a half hours but it cost 250 euros (£208) a day and I wasn't prepared to spend over 1,000 euros (£832) a week just on the trains.

"I do a lot of conference calls while I'm in the car. When you're driving you play mind games - competing with yourself to reach a village 10 minutes earlier than the day before. I work in IT for bank security and was being paid well enough to justify this. I was originally working from home but my boss insisted I work in the Paris office when I wasn't with clients. When the situation changed, I decided to do the journey out of obnoxiousness. I did this commute for a year and a half.

"I now live in the French Alps and work in Luxembourg. I cross four national borders on the way to work (France to Switzerland, Switzerland to Germany, Germany back to France and France to Luxembourg). It takes six hours."

____________________

Porthcawl, Wales to Watford near London

Distance: 181 miles (291km)

Duration: Six-hour round trip

Mode of transport: Car

Gary Egan: "I live in Porthcawl, Wales, and travel a minimum of five days a week to Watford. My alarm goes off at 03:30 each day and my journey takes two-and-a-half to three hours. I aim to be in the office for 06:30. My day can last as much as 12 hours as I am the head of production for a large format graphic company. I then travel home when there is a lot more traffic than there is in the mornings, with average of three to three-and-a-half hours being the norm for this single journey.

"If the work allows then I try to get away mid-afternoon so I have some time with my partner when I get home, but this is quite often not the case.

"The journey is 181 miles (291km) in each direction - the diesel bill is £900 a month. My worst journey has been four hours. My route is fairly basic as I use the M4 and M25 and luckily I am only on the M25 for a short time.

"I have quite a stressful job so I use the journey home to sort my day out in my head and to make a plan for the following day. I have Radio 2 on in the background. I will take calls (hands-free of course). My car reads out text messages and I can send messages back again by talking via the Bluetooth connection.

"I would love to have a job nearer home. However, the opportunities aren't the same here in Wales, as my field is quite narrow.

"My partner works for South Wales Police and also has a stressful job, and although we have discussed the options for a move, we feel our quality of life is much better here than it would be closer to my workplace in Watford. I like to run and on a weekend - within five minutes of me leaving my front door, I am running alongside the beach and the sea. Everybody is so friendly here and it is a real community spirit where neighbours genuinely want to help, should there be a need.

"Both my partner and myself have lived in London and the surrounding areas and despite the travel, I know I am much better off here than I am closer to my place of work."

____________________

Ramsbottom, Lancashire to Aldgate, London

Distance: 218 miles (351km)

Duration: Six-hour round trip

Mode of transport: Car, train, tube

Stuart Williams: "I work as an IT project manager in the city by Aldgate and commute daily from home.

"My day starts at 04:45, before leaving home for a 25-mile drive to Stockport train station at 6am. From Euston I then get the tube to Aldgate arriving just before 09:00 - if everything is working as it should be. I then make the return journey at 18:00 from Euston, arriving home at 21:00. I've worked out that the travel is exactly the same as the cost of renting in London - so therefore a better option."

____________________

Port Hadlock to Seattle, US

Distance: 50 miles (80km)

Duration: Five-to-six-hour round trip

Mode of transport: Car, ferry and walking

Christopher Grant: "I have a two-and-a-half to three-hour commute each way. I live in a small country town called Port Hadlock in Washington state, with my wife and four children, and drive an hour to an hour-and-a-half (depending on traffic) to the ferry which takes me across the water to Seattle. Then it's a 30-40 minute walk along the water to the office. I changed shifts to work 06:00-15:00 which puts me home at dinner time. This way I see my family every day and can help get them to bed. The hardest part is trying to get any time in with my wife before getting to bed promptly at 19:00.

"I'm a network support engineer and the number of information technology jobs in my (very rural) home county are limited at best. I'm a deacon in the Orthodox Church and my home parish is here. Also, my parents and sister live out here and my children and wife all have friends out here. Add that to the soft home market, and it's a combination of family factors, church obligations, and finances that keeps me out here. Plus I really do like living here.

"The ferry is just over $100 (£66) a month (I park at the terminal and walk on), parking is another $185 (£112)and gas at 80 miles a day getting just over 24 miles to the gallon usually runs me about $200-250 (£121-£151) a month. Total is about $550 at current gas prices. That's about £350 at the current exchange rate, and does not take into consideration the cost of shoes, which is highly variable."

____________________

Boulogne, France to Maidstone, Kent

Distance: 87 miles (139km)

Duration: Up to three hours

Mode of transport: Three cars (including one car share) and the Eurotunnel

Guylaine Oldroyd: "I used to live in London but then separated from my husband and went back to France with my two children. I was missing England very much and as a teacher, decided to do a bit of work in the UK. At the time the day trip was cheap so I carried on commuting. Then I was appointed permanently in Maidstone. I would get up at 06:00 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. I dropped my car off at 07:15 in Coquelles. I had an arrangement with another woman I had seen regularly commute on Le Shuttle where I would hop in her car and we would go to Ashford through the Eurotunnel together. Then I hopped in my other car to do the last leg from Ashford to Maidstone where I usually arrived at 08:00. The time difference helped. Now when I look back I can't believe I have done that for 18 months!"

All I can say, is sod that...

I've worked out that the travel is exactly the same as the cost of renting in London - so therefore a better option."

Really? Once a week, possibly, but not each working day..

Edited by Dave Beans

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Well, I wouldn't do it. Clearly they all have their reasons but it's worth pointing out that the non-UK ones are probably not primarily down to housing costs whereas most of the UK ones are.

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What a waste of hydrocarbons, and lives.

They may well be spending a good 14-16 hours working & commuting, but people still think they have a better quality of life, rather than living locally...I'd be knackered even before I'd start work..

Well, I wouldn't do it. Clearly they all have their reasons but it's worth pointing out that the non-UK ones are probably not primarily down to housing costs whereas most of the UK ones are.

That bloke from Wales spends £900 a month on fuel...so its not necessarily a necessity to live further away,,,

Edited by Dave Beans

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They may well be spending a good 14-16 hours working & commuting, but people still think they have a better quality of life, rather than living locally...I'd be knackered even before I'd start work..

That bloke from Wales spends £900 a month on fuel...so its not necessarily a necessity to live further away,,,

I did a 4 hours a day commute (2 hours either way) in the UK for a while and I can confirm that I was permanently exhausted. The odd thing is though that, after a while, you do get used to it somewhat. I lapsed into a sort of semi-functioning state of acceptance before I finally packed it in.

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That bloke from Wales spends £900 a month on fuel...so its not necessarily a necessity to live further away,,,

He was the exception I think in that he said his partner works near where they live. The rational thing to do would be for one of them to change jobs of course.

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I walk to work, takes me 15 minutes.

I`ve done commuting in the past, and am happy to do up to a hour each way for the right job, but any more than that is just too much bother.

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I walk to work, takes me 15 minutes.

I`ve done commuting in the past, and am happy to do up to a hour each way for the right job, but any more than that is just too much bother.

100% this. I'm going to save ~£180 in petrol and 40-odd hours of my time each month by moving within walking distance of work. The extra rent from being in London is nothing if I can turn those 40 hours into some overtime. Even 20 hours.

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I walk to work. It doesn't take very long to come back upstairs to my office. :)

I think an hour would be a bit much. It'd take me about 35 minutes to get to Manchester including a walk to the tram stop and assuming a walk at the other end.

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He was the exception I think in that he said his partner works near where they live. The rational thing to do would be for one of them to change jobs of course.

I don't know if you have ever been to Porthcawl, but I would say that his chances of finding work anywhere within 100 miles are zilch.

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thats one of the saddest things I've heard. those people are going to realise at some point just how much of their life they have wasted

Maybe they just hate spending time with their families. Some people probably enjoy driving. For some people the bus/train is a social experience.

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Maybe they just hate spending time with their families. Some people probably enjoy driving. For some people the bus/train is a social experience.

Some jobs I've had the drive there and back has been the highlight of my day :lol:

I like driving, but having to put in a full days work as well as an epic drive would kill me.

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They may well be spending a good 14-16 hours working & commuting, but people still think they have a better quality of life, rather than living locally...I'd be knackered even before I'd start work..

That bloke from Wales spends £900 a month on fuel...so its not necessarily a necessity to live further away,,,

Thats ~ 200/week petrol.

Cheaper to B+B Mon-> Thurs.

Shit, he could get a bar job and pay for his rent with the time he saved commuting.

1 hour is pushing it.

2 hours you're a cabbage.

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I don't know if you have ever been to Porthcawl, but I would say that his chances of finding work anywhere within 100 miles are zilch.

I haven't, but I've been to similar places so I know what you mean. I would have thought he'd be able to find something in Swansea or Cardiff though?

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Some of this is probably illegal - the Working Time Directive exists for a reason (and it isn't to wind up the anti-regulation brigade). I a crash, say, an employer who condoned this could be liable.

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Weird, I remember the days when you having a long commute would put employers right off. It would me!

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Maybe they just hate spending time with their families. Some people probably enjoy driving. For some people the bus/train is a social experience.

For about 15 months I commuted Bath-Swindon by train. It was a somewhat social thing: one got to know other regulars. It was also the ideal length of journey to learn my lines for whatever show I was in: long enough to get down to it; not so long as to get tired of it.

But for most of my life I've insisted on commuting by bike if not on foot. That means I've tried - usually successfully - to live within ten miles or so of work, and get a commute which is healthy and pleasurable exercise.

Those extreme commutes are just sick. Indeed, I'd say anything too far to do under your own power should be no more than an occasional journey or a stop-gap.

I guess I'm conditioned by my experience of a nightmare commute on a school bus!

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I do a six hour+ commute - but only once a week or so. The rest of the week my commute is only to the spare room.

I couldn't begin to imagine doing six hours daily - although for quite a bit of my working life I've done 1.5-2 hours daily (but usually by bike).

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Thats ~ 200/week petrol.

Cheaper to B+B Mon-> Thurs.

Shit, he could get a bar job and pay for his rent with the time he saved commuting.

1 hour is pushing it.

2 hours you're a cabbage.

Agreed. Infact I used to rent a room in my house near Cambridge to a guy who lived in London but couldn't move up for family reasons. Mon - Thursday night I charged £260 a month which was less than he would have spent on diesel doing the commute.

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For about 15 months I commuted Bath-Swindon by train. It was a somewhat social thing: one got to know other regulars. It was also the ideal length of journey to learn my lines for whatever show I was in: long enough to get down to it; not so long as to get tired of it.

But for most of my life I've insisted on commuting by bike if not on foot. That means I've tried - usually successfully - to live within ten miles or so of work, and get a commute which is healthy and pleasurable exercise.

Those extreme commutes are just sick. Indeed, I'd say anything too far to do under your own power should be no more than an occasional journey or a stop-gap.

I guess I'm conditioned by my experience of a nightmare commute on a school bus!

I did look into living in Bath and commuting to Swindon.

I know someone who does it. He lives about 15 min walk from Bath station. He gets a bus at the swindon end.

He's achieve a sort of zen like M4 work life i.e. not living in Swindon.

He's very happy.

I doubt he'd be the same the other way around.

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I did look into living in Bath and commuting to Swindon.

I know someone who does it. He lives about 15 min walk from Bath station. He gets a bus at the swindon end.

He's achieve a sort of zen like M4 work life i.e. not living in Swindon.

He's very happy.

I doubt he'd be the same the other way around.

But if he moved to Swindon he could get a much bigger house.

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