Commuting by car takes some beating

HOW do you travel to work? Do you think green when you commute? Yesterday feature writer JAMES MARSTON told how he fared commuting on the train and the bus.

James Marston

HOW do you travel to work? Do you think green when you commute?

Yesterday feature writer JAMES MARSTON told how he fared commuting on the train and the bus.

After two days of public transport he's back behind the wheel of his car, going from his home in Felixstowe to work in Ipswich.


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I'M beginning to get a little bit tired of being told what do to.

Every time you watch the news there's some politician saying things like “I'm concerned about the environment.” and “We must tackle climate change.”

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If I'm honest, like most of us, I don't care two hoots about the environment, well not really.

I know of no one who's giving up their car or stopping flying or doesn't heat their home or use electric light. I like a trip abroad, I want to see the world, I like driving and being warm and being able to see. I think nuclear power stations are a good idea and I like wind farms but most of the time I don't really think about it.

There just isn't the will to do much about the environment, we are addicted to oil and carbon emissions, and most people aren't going to give up.

We maybe collectively burying our heads in the sand but that's the choice we've made.

So I'm certainly not giving up my car. And why should I? It's so very comfortable and handy I couldn't imagine living with out it.

Driving is how I conduct much of my life, me car takes me to see people, it takes me to places I need to go and it takes me to work.

So at 7.35am, as I was scraping the ice of the windscreen with the case of a Petula Clark tape that's been banging around the interior of my car for the last few months, getting to work on time - and not the spectre of global warming - was at the forefront of my mind.

Once in the car, which started without any trouble, I put on the heating, checked my mirrors and set off. Gloved and scarfed I wasn't hanging around at a bus stop or a platform waiting in the cold either.

At 7.37am, I was driving along admiring a stunning sunrise over the North Sea. It's a sight that always gives me a lift, and I think I'm really lucky to live by the sea.

So at 7.38am and with a smile on my face I waved - metaphorically - good bye to the sea and headed along the road to Old Felixstowe.

I joined the rest of the morning commuters heading out of the town. After a couple of roundabouts I tuned into Classic FM, got cosy, and was on the A14 heading for Ipswich. It was 7.45am and I was making progress.

With the sun behind me, a spot of Mozart and a nice seat to sit in with no other people around me I indulged in my favourite daydream - what I'd do if I won £8million on the lottery.

It was 7.52am as I was posing the question to myself would I give up work when I began to approach the Orwell Bridge - a magnificent structure. I really like the fact you can get a glimpse of it before you go over it, and the Orwell Estuary on my left looked stunning in the bright sunlight.

I switched over the radio station just as I was at the bridge's summit and listened to what was left of Thought for the Day.

Once over the bridge, it was 7.54am I turned off the A14 and joined Wherstead Road. It's normally an easy run into the Evening Star car park from here. The traffic was flowing, the heating was on and, if I'd had a cigarette I would have smoked it.

By the time I got to Stoke Bridge at 7.57am, Radio 4 was predicting the weather. The traffic was still light there was the hint of a bottleneck at the Novotel roundabout and at 7.59am I was able to swing on to Star Lane. As I swung into Lower Brook Street the pips were going and as I parked the headlines were being read out for 8am. I made it, just.

At 4.01pm I'm out of the door, rushing home to get ready for a rehearsal with the Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society.

Driving home always seems easier. At this time of day Star Lane is normally pretty busy but not gridlocked. So by 4.07pm I'm making my way up Bishop's Hill and out on to Felixstowe Road. The radio and the warmth inside make my journey particularly pleasant.

I switch my lights on and I'm back on the A14 again by 4.17pm and heading towards Felixstowe. Once I see the Trimley water tower I know that it's just a few minutes to my home. I turn the key into my door at 4.28pm.

Well, I've tried the other options and I have to say you can't beat the convenience of the car.

Cost: Estimated £3.75 a day, £20 a week, depends on your car. And I don't need to pay for parking.

Bother (out of ten with ten as most bother): 1/10

Feelings at the journey's end: Comfortable and warm and easy

Popularity: Very, lots commute by car.

Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Hitches: None, though there can be traffic hold ups.

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