Opinion: To commute or not to commute?

Updated: May 6, 2021

By Chloe Olivia Sladden

If you’re looking for a real-life version of that movie we love to hate, look no further than commuting.

More and more people are going to university or even work further afield from where they live. Commuting may be the answer if you don’t want to completely uproot your life or spend large amounts of money.

In February 2018, a survey by Sutton Trust on Student Mobility said how 55.8% of students who lived 91km or less away from the university chose to commute.

If this is the case, then why is commuting being made harder and harder for people; especially if you are a University student who commutes twice a day on public or private transport.

There are many reasons why commuters like me chose to bare the stress and irritations of commuting to and from university every day.

One reason is that it saves a lot of money and I mean a lot! The cheapest accommodation listed on the university website, as a sharing twin room is £92.47 for a max 51-week contract adds up to a staggering £4715.97 for the whole year.

That is a lot compared to a year’s worth of weekly Intalink Explorer bus tickets for me which come to £35 a week and under £900 for the year.

The Sutton Trust’s survey reflects on this by commenting that 44.9% of these short distance commuters (travelling 91km or less) come from lower income classes.

It also says that 50.4% of students entering the University of Hertfordshire (in the year 2014-15) were part of this short distance commuters’ group.

Another reason is all that spare money can go towards other things such as driving lessons. This spare money does help as not every student may be able to get or have time for a part-time job or be able to get a lot of help from parents due to financial issues at home.

This doesn’t even mention the fact that a maintenance loan will not cover a lot of, or may just about, cover the costs of accommodation. It doesn’t include all the other expenses and stresses it brings that crop up with it too.

This recalls the question of why commuters like me see the benefits of commuting but can’t enjoy them because of all the irritations and stress that come with it.

Hertfordshire is officially said to be in the East of England. Either way, this only furthers my point as the Sutton Trust Survey again says 12.6% of commuters come from Eastern England where this university can be found.

It only communicates how much more needs to be done for commuting students across the country.

Means of transport often mean commuters either arrive too late or too early to lectures. It sometimes means if commuters are late, they may be put at fault for public transport running late or breaking down. This may happen regardless of how early the student leaves to complete their journey.

That said, we, unfortunately, can’t change travel timetables, traffic or the routes commuters have to take.

A simple solution of understanding or preventing an absence building if transport causes persistent lateness and help is given to those commuters.

Perhaps, also timetables are considered in terms of commuting students too to allow a student to get ready for and get to or leave uni with decreasing stress.

Hopefully, commuting will get better for this forgotten and misunderstood group of student.

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