What is the main reason to choose bus or Metro for your commuting journey? A few years ago I calculated the real costs of my car, bearing in mind that it spent 90% of the time immobile between journeys. It was actually costing me £1 per mile to run with everything included. I was horrified by this, and therefore sold it and opted to use a combination of bicycle/walking/public transport instead.
How long have you been doing this? Approximately 3 years.
Where do you travel from and to, and what is the approx. distance? I travel around 13 miles from West Monkseaton to the Dryden Centre in Low Fell, Gateshead.
Do you use public transport for this journey all the time, or just occasionally? I travel by a combination of Brompton folding cycle or walking, along with Metro and bus where necessary.
Do you ever use public transport on work-related journeys (eg to other Council sites)? Yes. I can cycle to a lot of meetings, but also have meetings in Newcastle and use public transport in the main for these depending on the weather.
What are the benefits of cycling and public transport? Cycling is great exercise, gets you fit, keeps you trim and is good for the environment, the pocket, and the soul. I travelled about 3,000 miles on the bike per year saving £630 in petrol alone, 920 kg of CO2 emissions, and have burnt the equivalent of 3 and half stone in calories.
Every journey to and from work cost £25, a horrendous amount, not to mention the stress, the unproductive time and the impact on the environment. In contrast, the Metro pass costs me £440 per year through the Council salary sacrifice scheme. Travel to work is now relaxed, stress-free and I find the Metro very reliable. I also have one hour reading time (30 mins there and back) per day which is a real bonus.
Any downsides? You need to be very flexible when using public transport given the weather, and the fact the some relatively short journeys can be very complicated. I would always recommend using public transport, but also opting for a combination of walking and cycling too. Sometimes things go wrong such as breakdowns and delays. That is where having the folding bike is key. If I get stuck on the Metro due to a problem on the line I can always jump off and cycle past the issue.
Have you had any interesting incidents while using public transport? Demba Ba sat next to me on the Metro on his way back from training. He’d only been at the club a few weeks, but I recognised him from the press and cos he had a training bag from West Ham (his previous club). I’ve also sat next to a BBC News reporter and a couple of actresses.
What would you say to anyone thinking of travelling actively? Join the revolution! For me, there is no greater sense of freedom than when walking, cycling or running. Freedom is at its best when you feel mentally well, are in control, and can detox the stress from the system. Exercise is proven to do this and building that into the journey to and from work is a cheap and effective way of ensuring I am getting fit in the best way.