I read Past Bedtime



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The best and worst ways to travel around London

This morning I had the pleasure of commuting out of London. I write this with a seat, my sanity and (dear God I hope this isn’t going to become a theme) a sense of smug satisfaction.

My mood could only be enhanced if I looked the part (I am wont to forget that, no matter how early one gets up, it will at some point be lunch time and I will still look like it’s 5am) and if my train were carting me somewhere more exciting than work, for example Cadbury world.

“If only every journey could be this pleasant!” I chuckle to myself light-heartedly, rousing the suspicion of nearby passengers. Some journeys just are infinitely superior to others. Here I offer you the definitive list of the best and worst ways to get around. You’re welcome.

1. The M6 Toll

Even if you have no business in the North, I would advise you to experience this gem of a road. If Freedom were to take a concrete form, it would look and feel like this.

2. The DLR

My idea of a great roller coaster ride is a gentle tickling of one’s adrenal glands as opposed to an all-out attack. Think the Peter Pan ride in Disneyland Paris. The DLR is not dissimilar to this.

3. Walking

Invest in a pair of Sketchers Walkits (other trainers are available) and be on your way. It’s free, it’s fresh and – if you walk at my pace – faster than most buses.

4. The A41

The M6 toll’s loveable younger cousin, when the A41 first came into the world my mother would take my sister and I out for rock and roll drives in her convertible, where we’d cruise down the highway with the Osmonds playing full blast. Forget Crazy Horses – this dreamy stretch of tarmac is now the fastest route back to my childhood home.

5. Any service run by Virgin

Can we all just agree that Virgin is superior in every way? I have been fortunate enough to travel with them three times in my life (for which my bank account is still paying the price) and the journey has often exceeded the destination. Richard – I salute you.

6. The District Line

At this point we begin to tip into the less favourable modes of transport. The district line, crap as it is, makes it to sixth place for the novelty of being able to see down the whole train.

7. The Wally Bus

After recovering from the betrayal of my Dad telling me he’d invented mash (and me telling all my friends’ parents), I tend to assume that anything my family say is their own invention is actually common knowledge. Turns out that with the Wally Bus they were actually telling the truth. Any bus operating in fun, out of the norm circumstances – think the airport to car park shuttle or those tour buses that for some reason are designed to look like trains – is worthy of the title. Safe to say, if you’re on it – you’re a wally.

8. Replacement Bus Service

Trailing behind even the Wally Bus is this sorry excuse for a train. If you’re on it, something has already clearly gone wrong for you that day – and everyone knows it.

9. The Bakerloo Line

You know what would be a great colour scheme for a train? Brown. And you know what our passengers need? Four-seater booths so snug that you can brush knees with the stranger opposite. Sort yourselves out, TFL.

10. Running

Until a few weeks ago I would have taken it as a given that no one would actually subject themselves to running as a form of transport (what are we, cave men?) However, having met two people that legitimately do this, it seems necessary to add it to the list. Don’t let yourself be among them.

So there we have it, the best and worst of the British Transport System. Make today an M6 toll kinda day. You deserve it.