Paul McConkey's Journey


Paul McConkey

Development Officer, Application Development
I ditched the car and dropped the stress!

What is the main reason to choose bus or Metro for your commuting journey?

Cost and convenience.  I live very close to my home Metro station (about 1 minute walk, if that!) so my total journey time from leaving home to clocking in is about 20-25 minutes.

I get my annual Metro pass via the councils travel ticket scheme so it only costs £35 a month.

How long have you been doing this?

I’ve been using Metro now for 8 ½ years.

Where do you travel from and to, and what is the approx. distance?

From Jarrow to Gateshead.  Distance is about 6 mile by road, but Metro journey time between the two stations is 15 minutes.

Do you use public transport for this journey all the time/most of the time/half the time/occasionally?

All  the time.

Do you ever use public transport on work-related journeys (eg to other Council sites)?

No as I rarely leave the Civic centre on work-related business.

What are the benefits of this form of travel? (eg are there cost/stress-reduction/time-saving benefits? NB – I still have your responses from last year on this, so I can add these.)

As mentioned earlier the cost is only £35 a month and of course the pass can be used for all other journeys, not just commuting to work.  Compare this to the cost of a parking pass alone (if you are lucky enough to get one!)

My journey is quicker too.  It would take me at least 20-25 minutes to travel by car through rush hour traffic.

And from the day I ‘ditched the car’, my wife noticed a drop in my stress levels!

And you can use the time to catch up on the news, listen to a bit of music, do the odd crossword / Sudoku puzzle, play a game on your smartphone (an essential travel companion!)

Any downsides?

I have to be honest and say Metro is not perfect! Especially this time of year with the dreaded ‘low rail adhesion’ caused by the falling autumn leaves.

It does suffer from delays from time to time caused by train failures etc which can be annoying and inconvenient.

But anyone using a car for work must suffer similar delays due to road works, breakdowns and accidents.

Have you had any funny incidents while using public transport to or from work?

Nothing to report here.  I tend to have my music on and my nose buried in my phone.

What would you say to anyone thinking of using public transport?

If, like me, you are fortunate enough to live close to a Metro station, then try it.  But not just for a day.  Try it over a week or a month.

While I was using my car for work, I had often thought of trying Metro but never did.

My hand was forced on the issue when the car suffered a major breakdown and I ended up buying a monthly Metro pass.

The car never did get repaired and I ended up buying an annual pass through the Council’s travelticket scheme and have never looked back.

I have, on a handful of occasions, used a car or been picked up by car in the past eight years and just ended stuck in rush hour traffic.

I don’t think I would ever switch back to using a car for my daily commute.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I think I may have said this in my original response, but some kind of ‘promotion’ week (perhaps in conjunction with Nexus)  may sway people to use Metro.

Offering a free or reduced price ticket for people to try it out.