Can Your Commuter Horror Stories Top These NYC Prizewinners?
The Rider’s Alliance, a New York City-based transit-rider advocacy group, is handing out prizes to people with the worst commuter stories in the city, and some of the entries are doozies.
This contest would be a drag to win, but at least the prize is a chocolate bar shaped like a MetroCard.
The group’s goal is to send a collection of stories to New York Governor Mario Cuomo and pressure him to fix the city’s deteriorating subway system.
The first winner, Jennifer Tang, a librarian at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, shared a harrowing story of being stuck on a train for two hours with no access to a bathroom.
There’s no doubt New York City has its share of miserable commuting stories, but commuters across the country have similar tales of woe.
For instance, Sheila James, a public-health adviser in California, faces a staggering six-hour round-trip commute to work every day.
Here in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida, many of our roads regularly function at or above capacity. A single accident or lane closure can quickly turn a 30-minute commute into 90 minutes or more. (That’s a fun time when it’s 90 degrees outside, let me tell you.)
The U.S. isn’t the only country where people have bad commutes. Two-hour one-way commutes are commonplace for workers in the United Kingdom.
My friend Sophia Swain lives in Berkshire, UK, and regularly commutes in and around London by train. She’s so frustrated by the the country’s railway system, she even mentions it in her Twitter bio.
I asked Swain to tell me her worst commuter story.
“Probably most infuriating is when the train is running late and they cut a station from the route when you’re already on the train. So you get on thinking you’re going home, but you’re not. You’re going to some other random station, and you have to find your own way home,” said Swain.
“They don’t tell you. They just randomly change the board on the train and update the app. As people slowly realize, a ripple of anger moves through the train and we all promptly have a meltdown,” Swain said.
How to Make Your Commute a Little Easier
Most of us can’t do anything about the commuting hand we’re dealt, but there are a few things we can do to make it a little easier.
- If you live close enough to work or school, save money by ditching your car for a bicycle.
- Depending on where you live, you could get paid to carpool.
- Weigh the pros and cons of all your commuting options to make sure you’ve chosen the best way to get to work or school.
- Grab some free audiobooks from your library to listen to as you walk, ride or drive.
When your commute gets really frustrating remember, we’ve been there too.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She thinks seat-dancing while belting out Broadway musical numbers is a perfectly acceptable way to pass the time during a car commute.