Could 2020 be the year to re-think your commute?
Wherever you live in the UK and however you travel, the time you spend getting to work is likely to have increased over the past decade. And this longer commute will be taking a toll on your finances, health and overall wellbeing. These days I commute mostly by bike, so I’m rarely forced to take public transport at rush hour. But when I do it's guaranteed to be a stressful experience. There are simply too many people, going in too many directions on a network that is no longer fit for purpose. At the last count in the UK, people were faced with an energy sapping 58 minute journey to earn a crust (it’s 81 minutes for Londoners!). For those who travel by train costs have gone up significantly too. Since 2010, rail fares have risen twice as fast as pay. Getting the bus has become more difficult due to service cuts and driving doesn’t make life any easier. 40% of car commuters experience congestion on the roads, followed by the nightmare of parking. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that longer commute times are closely linked with increased stress and higher blood pressure. They’re also eating into our ‘down’ time. On top of these very tangible and personal challenges, is the environmental damage that most existing forms of transport bring about. All these factors raise a question - is it time to reconsider our commuting habits? Surely there are alternative modes of transport that might inject some variety and even a little pleasure into our regular trips to work? I started riding a bike about 15 years ago and it’s transformed my attitude towards commuting. Sometimes I might arrive a bit damp or mildly dishevelled, but I’m never ever late and I’m always pumped up for the day ahead. And things have improved a lot for 2-wheeled travellers in the UK since I’ve been in the saddle. There are loads more cycle lanes these days (we still need more though), bikes are cheaper and more portable and we’ve seen the growth of cycle hire schemes around the country. Now technology is stepping in too. E-bikes and e-scooters (even if they are currently illegal here) are very much part of the mix. Deloitte’s 2020 Trends Report predicts that ‘e-bike sales will far outpace electric motor vehicles’ this year, suggesting that more and more people are now looking for ways to shake up their commute. We all know that we need to take a bit more care of ourselves and of our planet. Re-thinking how we get around our towns and cities, especially on those regular journeys, could be the micro change that collectively has a macro-impact. At Newlane we're doing our bit by creating innovations that make sustainable travel simpler and safer. Our launch product is the world's first truly 'packable' helmet for the urban rider.