Archive for February, 2012

Commuting from Preston to Manchester

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Random

This is *kind of* a travel blog post – it’s not about fun, recreational travel, rather its about the necessary evil that is my daily commute. Just over four months ago I decided to take on a job in Manchester, 34 miles from my house in Preston. I was under the impression this would not be such an arduous task – how wrong I was! The two years I’d spent driving/getting the train/Merseybusing to Liverpool University were an absolute doddle in comparison – mostly because lectures never really started until 11ish so I generally missed rush hour. But the M60. THE M60. I try to avoid the M60 if I can help it these days, but sometimes it’s just there and it spills over onto the comparatively empty A-roads that I prefer to go down. Just ugh. Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned about commuting to Manchester from Preston in the past few months.

1. The train costs more than you’d think. £239 for a monthly season ticket. Daylight robbery.

2. The tram costs more that you’d think. £50 for a monthly season ticket. See above.

3. A diesel car is the best thing money can buy. Seriously. I’ve got the fuel costs down to £180 per month.

4. If I travel outside of peak times, stress levels decrease considerably. This leads to 12-14 hour days but this is preferable to spending 5-10 hours of the week twiddling my thumbs on the M60. And on that note…

5. If I travel on the A580, stress levels decrease considerably. There is no need for the M60, no need at all. It’s been put there just to wind people up. I hope they don’t ever get round to turning it into a toll road – if they do then we’ll all be screwed.

6. Buses really don’t run all that regularly up here. The X25 is looking like it could be an interesting service, except it shouldn’t really take 2 hours to get from Preston to Manchester by public transport. Or indeed by any transport. Sometimes it does.

7. I read somewhere about people that CYCLE from Preston to Manchester. Much as I’d love to be the kind of person that can cycle 70 miles a day I just… *sob*… not now.

8. Podcasts are your friend. You can learn some cracking things from podcasts.

9. Spotify is a bargain, and the Belkin tunecast is a beautiful thing.

10. The M60 motorway – have I mentioned it? Evil bastard road. Oh and people love to have accidents on the M60 as well. I don’t think a single day’s gone by without somebody causing an obstruction on the M60. Learn to drive people!

So that’s the Preston-Manchester commute in a nutshell. It takes me 45 mins each way if I travel to Manchester outside of peak times, by car, but travelling in rush hour generally takes double that, sometimes even more. It is a massive undertaking. In fact it’s torture – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And by the way, I am from London, used to get the tube in rush hour from North-South London every day. My commute these days is much MUCH worse. Good luck to anyone that wants to give it a go.