I’ve been ill for the past couple of days.  Maybe it was some kind of karma for me telling people that were ill to get off the train and not to pull the passenger alarm? But to my credit, I waited to get off the train and was leaning over the platform edge before I puked my guts out.

So I haven’t really had to encounter many public transport qualms this past week, but what it did get me thinking of is the need for the commute in the first place.  And the un-welcomed thought that though they are going to ‘improve’ the trains and tubes and increase capacity, it will make very little difference.

Why?

I haven’t done any research, but I can say that the capacity that they are increasing the train and tubes by has never and probably will never match the amount of people that need to take them.  As more and more people move to the city to work, live and play, the numbers just don’t add up. 

So as I was praying for packed train to stop so I could get out, it made me think. Why does modern technology not equal more people living where they want to live but still being able to work for the top companies?

Why must someone from, I dunno, say Newcastle, have to leave his/her city to come and live in London? And then when he/she moves to London have to commute from where he/she lives to get to work?  Why can’t it be that that person commutes to a place in Newcastle and is able to connect to the London office via video link when necessary?  Likewise, why must the person that lives in London have to change where they live if their perfect job is in a different location.

For need or the want?

Now there are some jobs which are necessarily location based.  Practical jobs like being a nurse, a teacher, police officer, doctor, social worker, etc.  But there are a lot more which are not.  Office based jobs which require collaboration but not necessarily a permanent fixed location.

Now I like working from my office.  I may moan but I also enjoy travelling in most of the time, so I am not against people moving. I just don’t see why it must be a need? 

I mean, if you want to come, you have my vote, my ear and my appreciation.  But there are many more who moan at the fact that work forced them into the capital.  And I for one am tried of hearing people comment about how they would never raise their kids in the city. And it is to those people who complain about the quality of life in the smog filled skies of London that have my thought.

Wouldn’t those people prefer not have to travel in to work and spend half their time commuting?  Why shouldn’t they have that perfect work life balance that I am told you get when you don’t work in London?  What is stopping employers, who already have the technology, enabling them to do this?  Surely if the output is the same, how and where they derive the input from should be no problem?

In any case I may be defending the wrong people.  It may be that these people don’t mind the capital at all.  That they enjoy insulting it as much as they enjoy living in it.  I get it, talking crap about the city and preferring the country is easier than admitting you love it, especially after you’ve spent more time here than originally planned.  And so maybe the idea is moot, and I will have to put up with public transport overcrowding for a whole while longer.

Who knows, just thinking…

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