Updated: Jul 4, 2019
The international Walk to Work Day has come and gone, and a lot of us took the opportunity to give our oyster cards a rest. At 74 minutes, the average Londoner's commute is almost double the global average of 40 minutes. With millions of people commuting for that long every day, trains and tubes become unbearably sweaty, crammed, and unpleasant. And too often, annoying signal faults or other issues are causing major delays. Hopefully, the Walk to Work Day was a pleasant change for most of its participants, and inspired to bigger changes.
So what is the problem?, you might wonder. London’s transport overcrowding is so pervasive that it has been cited as London’s #2 biggest issue after the housing crisis. Number of delays caused by overcrowded platforms is increasing, and unions are concerned about commute welfare. TfL says they are no longer always able to see when a passenger has fallen between the train and the platform edge due to staff cuts and overcrowded platforms, and are forced to close stations to ensure they are safe to use.
Additionally, the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants reported earlier this year that tube particle pollution is 30 times higher than by roads. Considering these facts, getting on the tube doesn't sound too tempting. But do we have a choice? Some of us simply wont have the time or capacity to walk to work due to distance, health, or other factors. But I think a lot of people could manage to walk, run, or cycle at least a few times a week - which would make a massive collective difference!
A year ago, I wouldn't have considered walking or running to work. However, after starting slowly last Autumn, I quickly became addicted to the benefits. Feeling the sun on my face, listening to a good podcast, and the fresh air is a way more zen way to start my day. It might not cut down my hour-long commute, but hopefully my health and the planet will thank me for it.