Sixteen Reasons Why Commuting is Good

When people hear that I spend two hours each way commuting to UBC from Surrey every day, the most common question is: but why? When the train broke down today, and it took over three hours to get to UBC, I was asking myself the same thing. I made a list to remind myself why commuting is good.

1) Taking the bus is an eco-friendly way to get to school

2) You can spend the money you save on rent to create a monthly book budget, and use that money to purchase lots of delightful books

3) Taking the bus gives you four or more hours a day where you can read said books. Even if you tend to get nauseous in a car, most days the bus crawls along, so it’s impossible to get motion sickness.

4) Quirky people on the bus/train are great material for short stories

5) Running flat out from the bus to class, while trying to avoid colliding into people is better exercise than an obstacle course.

6) You can do readings, start and finish assignments, listen to your favourite podcast, plan out your schedule, and still have half your journey left

7) In good weather, the scenery from Surrey to UBC, and back again is stunning. Sometimes buses stall in the most unlikely of places(on bridges for instance), and you have an opportunity to experience Vancouver’s scenery up close

8)Seeing people give up their seats even when they don’t have to, gives you warm fuzzy feelings

9) When you’ve gone to bed late the night before finishing up readings, you can still arrive to school fresh and ready to go-courtesy of a ‘bus nap’

10) After a while, if you take the same bus at the same time every day, the bus driver will ask you how your studies are going

11) When buses are once an hour, you learn to be at peace with waiting

12) Standing in a crammed Skytrain or bus, while simultaneously trying to grab ahold of something, really improves your flexibility and your sense of grip.

13) You never run out of stories that start,” You won’t believe what happened on the way to school today”

14) After a while, you can start to laugh at the frequent bus mishaps that happen to you

15) Focusing on not falling on crowded buses makes you feel quite zen-like

16) That which does not kill you, only makes you stronger.

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Shagufta is a UBC Political Science graduate with a passion for interdisciplinary thinking, writing, travel, reading, tea, and interesting conversations. She hopes to combine all of these things in her life work someday. For now though, she studies social policy and planning at the University of Toronto and shares her adventures in and out of the classroom at

3 Responses to “Sixteen Reasons Why Commuting is Good”

  1. Tony P

    Our regional transit authority, RIPTA runs a fairly good service if you live in the cities. Anywhere else like the burbs and you’re SOL.

    But get this, RI had tracked and trackless trolleys running all over the state at one time in the past. This all ended in 1949-1950.

    Good book on the subject is Edwin Black’s “Internal Combustion”.

  2. natural cynic

    Another good source on the end of the trams is the live action-cartoon “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”

  3. blf

    I’m in Montpellier France, which has a rather good local bus service, installed one tram line in 2000 and another in 2006 (with third planned for 2011?). Except that the bus services shut down rather early (20h00 or so), this makes getting around quite easy, with advantages similar to those listed.

    Interestingly, it seems there were trams in Montpellier yonks ago. I don’t know any details, but old photographs (1930’s?) can be seen which show trams on the main square (Place de la Comédie) in essentially the same position as the modern line.

    Unfortunately, in this part of southern France, transport to the rural areas is poor or non-existent. There is train service (including the TGV) between citites, and some private bus operations into the countryside, but even simple trips to the nearby villages can require careful planning. Bicycling’s an option, but don’t expect flat countryside, and during the local “monsoons” is perhaps best avoided? And, of course, you can’t (or at least shouldn’t!) read et al whilst cycling, albeit whether or not that’s a disadvantage is debatable.

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