Can people not afford to commute to work?

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455driver

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Your post which I replied to seemed to be saying that the "peakiness" of demand made the overall cost of operating the railway higher (apologies if I've misinterpreted) . If this is the case, then spreading demand will reduce overall cost - if the savings are passed on then this would help everyone, even those who can't change their travel patterns.
It does but trying to force (okay encourage but the effect is the same ;)) peole to change their travelling habits wont work, everyone will assume it is up to everyone else to change their habits and not them.

We have had enough coverage of the Woking to Waterloo which is 150% loaded (or whatever it was) and the fact that a train 10 minutes later is quite reasonably loaded, how many commuters on that crush loaded train changed their travelling habits and caught the later train? Zero, none, nadda, so I dont think anything will work because people want to travel at that time and that is it.
 
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yorksrob

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The other thing that could be done to improve the situation would be for more employers to offer flexible working hours where possible. However, some might dislike this as they would lose a lot of unpaid overtime.
 

WelshBluebird

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It does but trying to force (okay encourage but the effect is the same ;)) peole to change their travelling habits wont work, everyone will assume it is up to everyone else to change their habits and not them.

We have had enough coverage of the Woking to Waterloo which is 150% loaded (or whatever it was) and the fact that a train 10 minutes later is quite reasonably loaded, how many commuters on that crush loaded train changed their travelling habits and caught the later train? Zero, none, nadda, so I dont think anything will work because people want to travel at that time and that is it.
I can't speak for that specific example, but it is difficult to change your travelling habits and catch a slightly later train when you have to be in work for a specific time.
 

Tetchytyke

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TransPennine Express manage to enforce time restrictions on their early bird season ticket, as do SouthEastern.

And I wish I could remember which flow it was, but I was looking on NRE's season ticket calculator recently and they had part-time season tickets valid for four days out of five weekdays (and each combination was listed separately). So that can be done too.

Changing travel patterns can be hard if you have to be at your desk for 8am or 9am, the focus has to go on to employers allowing more flexible working.
 

Northernboy67

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I renewed my season ticket in September, so I am okay for a few months yet. But it may be a different story then. I commute from Gillingham to London Cannon Street. A basic Gillingham to London Terminals.

A colleague of mine noticed a job at Canary Wharf, saying why did I not go for it. There was no salary indicated, but I told him it would cost me more in travel, as I would have to upgrade ticket, to include the Underground/DLR.
His response was that they might be offering me more money. I said I don't want to spend that on more travel. Hence it was only a fixed term contract.

I am hoping to secure a position with a TOC eventually anyway, and have a few applications submitted.
Not because of free travel, but because I love trains.
 

The Planner

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Living around Gatwick there must be *plenty* of job opportunities not requiring going all the way to MK - it's certainly an easy London commute.

Neil
Depends on how niche or specialised the profession is I suppose. Didnt do a lot of people I know a lot of favours when we were centralised to Milton Keynes and we lost a lot of people because of it.
 

deltic

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Inflation is really a work of fiction, based as it is on a "basket of goods"- including plenty of luxury goods- that most people don't buy. Deflation on things like electronic goods has hidden inflation on things like food, energy and water.

The issue isn't that inflation is high, it's that wage inflation is static.
I would disagree - inflation index is quite sophisticated - its a basket of goods weighted by expenditure on those items - so it does reflect what people as a whole spend their money on. Of course no one is average so every individuals inflation rate is different but its as good a proxy as you are going to get.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You mean measures of inflation are a work of fiction.

As are most gauges or indicators created by politicians.

The ones which aren't works of fiction are gamed to the point where they've lost meaning.
The indicators are not created by politicians. This idea that everything is a great conspiracy theory is not helpful and undermines the professionalism of those individuals who put together all our economic and social indicators.
 

Bletchleyite

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Depends on how niche or specialised the profession is I suppose. Didnt do a lot of people I know a lot of favours when we were centralised to Milton Keynes and we lost a lot of people because of it.
Curiously, wasn't part of the move to MK a policy of no long-distance commuting, thus forcing a number of people out of a job?

Neil
 

Bletchleyite

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We have had enough coverage of the Woking to Waterloo which is 150% loaded (or whatever it was) and the fact that a train 10 minutes later is quite reasonably loaded, how many commuters on that crush loaded train changed their travelling habits and caught the later train? Zero, none, nadda, so I dont think anything will work because people want to travel at that time and that is it.
Sometimes "better the devil you know", as well. I wonder if that was the reason behind LM's posters showing loadings from each station at peak times per train - they might give a bit of confidence that another train is a better choice. Though later usually isn't an option, as nobody likes getting up at the crack of dawn so most commuters will tend to take the latest train they can to consistently get to work on time.

That said, a commuter is very much a creature of habit. If I go to Bletchley of a morning there are the people who are evidently standing in the same place on the platform, at the same time, board the same train (ish), take the same seat (on that stock type) every day for 40 years. It's almost depressing...

Neil
 

infobleep

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Sometimes "better the devil you know", as well. I wonder if that was the reason behind LM's posters showing loadings from each station at peak times per train - they might give a bit of confidence that another train is a better choice. Though later usually isn't an option, as nobody likes getting up at the crack of dawn so most commuters will tend to take the latest train they can to consistently get to work on time.

That said, a commuter is very much a creature of habit. If I go to Bletchley of a morning there are the people who are evidently standing in the same place on the platform, at the same time, board the same train (ish), take the same seat (on that stock type) every day for 40 years. It's almost depressing...

Neil
South West Trains have posters are some stations showing loadings. Surbiton has one. There use to be one on platform 9 at Clapham Junction too but they got rid of it for some reason.

I don't think the posters make any difference because the one at Surbiton is from 2011 and if it had made a difference to the loadings, they would have updated the poster to reflect this.
 
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Tetchytyke

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I would disagree - inflation index is quite sophisticated - its a basket of goods weighted by expenditure on those items - so it does reflect what people as a whole spend their money on. Of course no one is average so every individuals inflation rate is different but its as good a proxy as you are going to get.
It's a useful work of fiction- we need to get a rough estimate of inflation somehow- but it still remains a work of fiction. The basket of goods is weighted, but overall it does assume a certain level of luxury spending. This means that, generally, the personal inflation rate for a high earner is less than the personal inflation rate for a low earner.

I don't think the measures themselves are cynical- it needs to be measured somehow- but political usage of the measure definitely is.

One phrase I am sick of hearing is that "in real terms" something hasn't increased, as though the fact inflation is 3% justifies a 3% increase (leaving aside the fact that inflation only occurs because people put their prices up).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sometimes "better the devil you know", as well. I wonder if that was the reason behind LM's posters showing loadings from each station at peak times per train - they might give a bit of confidence that another train is a better choice.
It depends on what is a "better" choice.

From my station the 0758 is marked as "standing room only" whilst the 0813 has "plenty of seats". Trouble is, if I take the 0813 I will only make it to work for 9am if the train is on time to the minute, and my experience is that the 0813 is late about 80% of the time (it's been on time once since the start of the year). Luckily I'm the boss of my department so it doesn't really matter if I get in at 0910, but for many people it does.

There's a reason why the busiest trains are the busiest, and it isn't because people want to grind up against total strangers.
 
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Greenback

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The other thing that could be done to improve the situation would be for more employers to offer flexible working hours where possible. However, some might dislike this as they would lose a lot of unpaid overtime.
I can't speak for that specific example, but it is difficult to change your travelling habits and catch a slightly later train when you have to be in work for a specific time.
In relation to the above posts, I was once in a position where I travelled to work by rail and chose to get in earlier than I needed to, simply because the earlier train was less well used and more comfortable. I used to go ina and make a cup of tea, then have a browse of the web for half an hour before I started working.

One day one of the managers asked why i came in so early and I explained it was because I caught a better and earlier train. They offered, on the spot, to change my contracted hours so that I could start half an hour earlier and finish half an hour earlier.

That taught me a good lesson, never be afraid to ask! I'd already learnt the one about not doing unpaid overtime many years before!

I don't think the measures themselves are cynical- it needs to be measured somehow- but political usage of the measure definitely is.

One phrase I am sick of hearing is that "in real terms" something hasn't increased
I agree with this!

From my station the 0758 is marked as "standing room only" whilst the 0813 has "plenty of seats". Trouble is, if I take the 0813 I will only make it to work for 9am if the train is on time to the minute, and my experience is that the 0813 is late about 80% of the time (it's been on time once since the start of the year). Luckily I'm the boss of my department so it doesn't really matter if I get in at 0910, but for many people it does.
Flexibility from management is the key, as well as my own story I know of someone who managed to adjust her start and finish times by ten minutes to allow for late trains. If the train was on time, she had a cigarette!

Of course, such flexibility isn't always possible, but I don't see why some places have a rigid 9-5 policy when a range of start and finish times would be beneficial in many ways.

I have to say that flexi time was the best thing I ever had, though!
 

The Planner

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Curiously, wasn't part of the move to MK a policy of no long-distance commuting, thus forcing a number of people out of a job?

Neil
It was (and still is I think) based on journey time. So someone who lives on the WCML with a fast service to somewhere say 100 miles away could concievably be ok where someone on a slow stopping route half the distance loses out.
 

Tetchytyke

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Unless there's a genuine business need, I don't see why some managers get so hung up about rigid timekeeping.

Certainly with my staff I work on the basis that, so long as they're not taking the mickey and they're not missing appointments, it doesn't really matter if they're not in until 9.15. It generally balances itself out anyway, with them staying back at the end. Enforcing 9am strict just encourages clock watching at the end of the day.

It doesn't work for all businesses or all jobs- you can't have the receptionist bimble in at 9.25 every morning- but there aren't that many jobs that need to be rigid.

When I lived in Muswell Hill I used to get in early, as the tube was more tolerable at 7.30 than 8.15. But here it's better to get in a little bit late as the train is more tolerable at 8.15 than 7.45.
 

deltic

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It's a useful work of fiction- we need to get a rough estimate of inflation somehow- but it still remains a work of fiction. The basket of goods is weighted, but overall it does assume a certain level of luxury spending. This means that, generally, the personal inflation rate for a high earner is less than the personal inflation rate for a low earner.

I don't think the measures themselves are cynical- it needs to be measured somehow- but political usage of the measure definitely is.

One phrase I am sick of hearing is that "in real terms" something hasn't increased, as though the fact inflation is 3% justifies a 3% increase (leaving aside the fact that inflation only occurs because people put their prices up).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

In what way does the basket reflect a certain level of luxury spending? It is based on average expenditure patterns - it does not reflect the spending of a high or low earner but the average earner - there are also separate indices for pensioners.

The use of real terms is important as its only then can you put changes in price in context. Knowing rail fares have gone up 100% over the last 20 years is not helpful unless you know the context in terms of other price changes and changes in earnings.
 

Deerfold

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In what way does the basket reflect a certain level of luxury spending? It is based on average expenditure patterns - it does not reflect the spending of a high or low earner but the average earner - there are also separate indices for pensioners.
Quite - they reflect the average earner so do not show how inflation can affect high earners and low earners differently.

For example, for a low earner, their heating and (commuting) travel costs are probably a much higher proportion of their income.
 

Greenback

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Unless there's a genuine business need, I don't see why some managers get so hung up about rigid timekeeping.

Certainly with my staff I work on the basis that, so long as they're not taking the mickey and they're not missing appointments, it doesn't really matter if they're not in until 9.15. It generally balances itself out anyway, with them staying back at the end. Enforcing 9am strict just encourages clock watching at the end of the day.
I absolutely agree. When I worked in such a rigid environment, no one really wanted to start anything new in the last half hour as they probably wouldn't be able to finish it in time, therefore the natural inclination was to do nothing. A more flexible attitude would have worked better for everyone, but in their infinite wisdom, senior management wanted it like that, despite the excellent arguments I put forward for change.

It doesn't work for all businesses or all jobs- you can't have the receptionist bimble in at 9.25 every morning- but there aren't that many jobs that need to be rigid.
That's right, but in another place working hours for the front desk were 0800 to 1800 and so we worked together to cover the reception and switchboard outside whatever hours the receptionist and telephonists wanted to work. It was too long for one person to cover each role anyway, plus there were lunch and breaks to cover, so again, flexibility in having a few additional people trained up on the jobs was worthwhile for all parties.

I really don't understand why management at the former job were so different in their style to the latter, and it was the latter that had the happier and more motivated workforce, the better performance and the higher customer satisfaction by far!
 

Deerfold

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I absolutely agree. When I worked in such a rigid environment, no one really wanted to start anything new in the last half hour as they probably wouldn't be able to finish it in time, therefore the natural inclination was to do nothing. A more flexible attitude would have worked better for everyone, but in their infinite wisdom, senior management wanted it like that, despite the excellent arguments I put forward for change.
I used to work (briefly) 0900-1700 for a company. I was doing data entry and filing - stuff that needed doing, but with no tight deadlines.

I used to arrive at 0830 most days as catching the next bus left me at risk of not quite being in for 0900. I'd start work as soon as I got there.

One day, due to a road accident I arrived a couple of minutes after 0900. I was penalised 15 minutes pay with no option to work a shorter lunch or work later (never mind all the extra half hours I'd done). From the next day I read my paper until 0900.

My current employer has rather more flexibility and I'm back doing unpaid overtime here and there.

Obviously there are jobs (such as train driving) where you have to be in by a certain time.
 

Greenback

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I used to work (briefly) 0900-1700 for a company. I was doing data entry and filing - stuff that needed doing, but with no tight deadlines.

I used to arrive at 0830 most days as catching the next bus left me at risk of not quite being in for 0900. I'd start work as soon as I got there.

One day, due to a road accident I arrived a couple of minutes after 0900. I was penalised 15 minutes pay with no option to work a shorter lunch or work later (never mind all the extra half hours I'd done). From the next day I read my paper until 0900.
That's very poor management, but your story is very similar to what happened to me that led to me never, ever working outside my 'proper' hours'.

My current employer has rather more flexibility and I'm back doing unpaid overtime here and there.

Obviously there are jobs (such as train driving) where you have to be in by a certain time.
That's right, and I;m very pleased you are in a better position now, but I'll never work outside my hours again. That doesn't mean I won't stay a bit longer if I'm asked and take the time back at a convenient time, however!
 

button_boxer

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How are you going to enforce it?
Smartcards.

With a smart ticketing system you could have products that allow use on (say) any three days in seven. A scheme that supports PAYG credit could allow for occasional weeks when you need to travel on more than three days, or even without PAYG you could have a setup where you buy a full-price season ticket for the first week/month and then if the system can see that you only used it three days a week you get a discount on your next renewal.
 

Abpj17

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Mmmm I don't really think as 10 - 30 minute shifts as flexi time, but I guess it is.

Flexi-time in a much broader sense is about being about to split shift a day or shift by an hour or more either way, or work five days in four etc.
 

Greenback

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Mmmm I don't really think as 10 - 30 minute shifts as flexi time, but I guess it is.

Flexi-time in a much broader sense is about being about to split shift a day or shift by an hour or more either way, or work five days in four etc.
There are many versions of flexi time, what I am relating is fixed hours but not strictly limited to 9 to 5. There are variations such 0830-1630, 0842-1642, or 0920 to 1720, but when those hours were agreed we were expected to stick them unless we had prior permission (and a good reason!) to vary them. Another colleague was allowed to work 0855-1655 in order to get away to catch her train home.

So, I wouldn't really describe it as flexi time, more staggered start and finish times, really, as there was no flexibility to say, work 7 hours one day and 9 hours another, or vice versa, which is what I've had at other employment.

Such flexibility would be ideal if they could be used conjunction with cheaper rail tickets to spread the load.
 

GodAtum

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Unfortunately I am in a very awkward situation. I am the only one in my office who comes to work by train, as everyone else lives nearby so drives. In the evening, I could get the 1715 bus to get the 1800 train, or the 1745 bus to get the 1834 train.

But everyone leaves at 1730 so I have to get the 1745 bus. Which means by the time I get on the 1843 train everyone else is at home.
 

Abpj17

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Unfortunately I am in a very awkward situation. I am the only one in my office who comes to work by train, as everyone else lives nearby so drives. In the evening, I could get the 1715 bus to get the 1800 train, or the 1745 bus to get the 1834 train.

But everyone leaves at 1730 so I have to get the 1745 bus. Which means by the time I get on the 1843 train everyone else is at home.
Unless there is a reason for 5.30 (like a shop opening hours etc.) you should speak to your colleagues and boss and ask if they would be ok with you leaving 15 minutes earlier in exchange for arriving 15 mins earlier/shorter lunch break etc. (or cheekily ask if anyone would drop you at the station if that means you could make the 1800 train)
 

Greenback

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Unless there is a reason for 5.30 (like a shop opening hours etc.) you should speak to your colleagues and boss and ask if they would be ok with you leaving 15 minutes earlier in exchange for arriving 15 mins earlier/shorter lunch break etc. (or cheekily ask if anyone would drop you at the station if that means you could make the 1800 train)
That's what I'd do!
 

matt_world2004

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I think there would be certainly a case for - when rationing conscessionary travel, Giving it to low paid employees rather than wealthy pensioners. This would provide greater economic benefits, as it would encourage people to look further for work, instead of being on benefits. The fact at the end of the day, Travel costs and ease of use are always going to be a barrier to employment. Living off the great western mainline in Greater London, I could commute to Cardiff to work. However the prohibitive price of a season ticket means that it is not a realistic option, However there is no economic soloution to that problem, apart from making public transport completely free. Which is not realistic either.
 

aformeruser

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I used to work (briefly) 0900-1700 for a company. I was doing data entry and filing - stuff that needed doing, but with no tight deadlines.

I used to arrive at 0830 most days as catching the next bus left me at risk of not quite being in for 0900. I'd start work as soon as I got there.
From my experience when one person starts doing that it can result in employers seeing people who turn up just on time every day not being one of the star employees despite doing exactly what they're being contracted to do and doing a good job at it.

If someone starts work 5 minutes early every day for the full year then that's equivalent to them doing an extra day's work over the course of the year. Yet if most people are starting work more than 5 minutes early, the employer won't even notice it.
 

Busaholic

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I think there would be certainly a case for - when rationing conscessionary travel, Giving it to low paid employees rather than wealthy pensioners. This would provide greater economic benefits, as it would encourage people to look further for work, instead of being on benefits. The fact at the end of the day, Travel costs and ease of use are always going to be a barrier to employment. Living off the great western mainline in Greater London, I could commute to Cardiff to work. However the prohibitive price of a season ticket means that it is not a realistic option, However there is no economic soloution to that problem, apart from making public transport completely free. Which is not realistic either.
Most pensioners in England only have concessionary travel on buses, and then only after 09.30, and most of those I see using those passes I am certain do not have cars, many, particularly women, never having driven, or have had to give up driving for medical reasons or who can no longer afford to run a car. I have been in the latter situation myself, but through a bequest was able to buy a bottom-of-the-range Renault new four years ago, adequate for my needs but it will have to keep going for several more years. This canard about 'wealthy pensioners' swanning round on public transport free from one champagne bar to another, partly spread by that arch-hypocrite Nick Clegg, is one that needs scotching once and for all. The only place this could be remotely true is London, and personally I think the concession of free travel before 09.30 on weekdays on the underground and overground should be withdrawn, maybe also on the buses.
 

Hadders

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If you means test concessionary travel for pensioners then it will cost a fortune to set up systems to determine who qualifies for it.

On the other hand 'wealthy' pensioners are unlikely to make use of concessionary travel, preferring instead to use their own car.

Means testing would probably cost more than simply giving the benefit to everyone although it probably doesn't sound as good in the media.
 
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