Monday morning. Rush hour. The polished shoes of city life click-clack under dripping umbrellas, rushing and pushing towards the cramped elevators to multi-story offices where the coffee is free and the work is soul-destroying.
Well, it better, because a recent survey of nearly 3,500 workers has uncovered that people who walk to work are, in fact, the happiest commuters in the land. The people who took part in the survey were asked to rate their commute in various ways, focusing mainly on the difference between a summer commute and a winter commute, before the results were converted into a percentage describing the happiness of different types of commuters. Got it?
Why are people who walk to work the happiest commuters?
Who knows. That’s the short answer. But it’s probably something to do with having time to mentally prepare for the day ahead and having the space to decompress after the clock strikes home-time. But only for 15 minutes. 15 minutes appears to be the ideal commute by foot. Any more, and we feel like we’re wasting time. Any less and our thoughts aren’t in order yet.
There is probably something to be said for the comparison people will make between experiencing a walking commute and more stressful modes of getting to and from work. For example, walkers do not need to Google things like “Is my train on time today?” and “Traffic jams in my area” and even things like “What is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents?” after experiencing a crash that they hope wasn’t their fault.
Whatever the case, 85% of people who choose to walk to work say that they have a happy commute.
To be fair, train commuters are almost as happy
I was once in a position of having to take the train to work for three years. In that time, and on quite a packed service, I witnessed someone spilling their breakfast into the lap of another commuter, I saw countless people whacking into each other with bikes and briefcases, and I was witness to the daily onslaught of people who use the train journey to complete their hair/makeup/deodorant routine, complete with gels and sprays and powders that filled the air and made me choke.
And yet, people who commute by train say that they enjoy it, with just over 84% rating their train trips as a happy experience. I don’t get it. But facts are facts.
Let’s wrap this up. Cyclists came in at 82% enjoyment, drivers were next with 78%, and people taking the bus were last with only a 75% enjoyment rating.
There we have it, folks. Walk, go by train, or cycle, but whatever you do, avoid the bus.