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Iceni Magazine | December 11, 2018

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Brits Reveal Their Top 50 Commuter Bug-Bears

commuter, driving, traffic, journey, transport

Pointless traffic lights, loud eating on public transport and having to stand under someone’s armpit are among commuters’ biggest bugbears.

A study of 2,000 people found two-thirds dislike their journey to work and are enraged by loud mobile phone users, smelly food and thoughtless passengers who stand in train doorways rather than moving down the carriage

The average person feels completely fed up just 13 minutes into their commute, and almost a third of respondents say their daily trek is the worst part of their working day.

Among the main irritations are delayed trains or buses, people who put their feet on seats and ‘dawdlers’.

For those travelling in the car to work, others who change lane at the last moment nearly causing an accident, middle lane drivers and those who drive at 50mph on the motorway are among the top annoyances.

Additionally, those taking the train or bus hate standing next to someone with body odour who insists on using the high hand rails, and selfish passengers who refuse to stand up for older commuters.

The study of 2,000 people who commute to work was conducted by working animal charity SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals, such as horses, donkeys and camels, in developing countries throughout the world.

SPANA Chief Executive Geoffrey Dennis said: “When taking the same journey to and from work every single day, it’s understandable that these persistent irritations can seem like a big deal.

People who change lane last minute and nearly cause an accident

“During your commute, the last thing you want is to suffer delays or have to put up with inconsiderate behaviour. However, these annoyances aren’t the end of the world, particularly when compared to some of the problems endured by people and animals in developing countries – and the journeys they have to face.

“Every day, many working animals overseas have to walk miles, carrying back-breaking loads in difficult terrain and in temperatures exceeding 40˚C. During such journeys, these animals often have little shelter, water or rest, while they are at risk of being hit by cars and buses.”

The study shows that, on public transport, commuters frequently get infuriated with people who hog the seats with their bags, phone reception cutting out every five minutes and having to sit near people listening to very loud and terrible music.

Other irritations on the bus or train include people who stand in the doorways rather than moving down the carriage, people sniffing loudly or snorting and those who insist on using bad language.

For motorists, common frustrations include the inability to find a parking space once reaching the destination, needing the toilet when stuck in traffic and running out of petrol.

Drivers also get annoyed with others who tailgate, rubbish collectors who block the road and make everyone wait until they’ve emptied all the bins on the street and having to de-ice the car on a frosty morning.

Researchers found the average person feels irritated for at least 20 per cent of their overall commute time, and for 36 per cent their patience levels are even lower on the way home from work.

A fifth of those polled say a bad journey to work leads them to feel snappy for the day, while 14 per cent say they feel tired and one in 10 remain angry for some time after arriving at work.

A third of people say they would be prepared to take a pay cut if it meant they could work from home.

Geoffrey Dennis added: “Of course, everyone has to contend with problems – however minor – at some stage in their working lives, but many people in the UK aren’t aware about the tough conditions endured by working animals around the world.

“These animals play a vital role in supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest families but despite their importance, their welfare is often neglected.

“SPANA is working to ensure that working animals have access to veterinary care when they are sick or injured, as well as educating owners about how to best care for their animals.”


1. Being stuck in traffic for hours on end
2. De-icing the car
3. People who change lane last minute and nearly cause an accident
4. Traffic lights which seem to serve no purpose
5. People talking loudly on the phone on public transport
6. People who hog the seat with their bags
7. Tailgating
8. Getting in the car and having to wait for the condensation to clear
9. Middle lane drivers
10. Aggressive people
11. People taking up more than their fair share of space
12. Sunday drivers on the road in rush hour
13. Needing the toilet when stuck in traffic
14. Very delayed trains, buses or trains
15. When the traffic light god isn’t on your side
16. People refusing to give up their seat for others more needy (e.g. older passengers, pregnant women, people with disabilities or those with young children)
17. Cyclists running red lights
18. People who drive at 50mph on the motorway
19. When buses or trains simply don’t turn up
20. Noisy children
21. When the bin men (or women) block the road and you have to wait for them to very slowly finish emptying all the bins
22. Trying to find a parking space at work
23. Feet on the seats
24. Dawdlers
25. People undertaking on the motorway
26. People eating loudly on public transport
27. Cyclists or motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic
28. Drunk people on the way home from work
29. People who push in when queuing to get on public transport
30. Getting in the car and realising you should have got petrol the day before as now you don’t have enough time
31. People who listen to terrible music (loudly)
32. Having to stand under someone’s armpit
33. When people accelerate really slowly and they get through the traffic lights and you don’t
34. Leaving rubbish on the train tables / bus floors
35. No air conditioning or ventilation on public transport during the summer
36. People who eat smelly food next to you
37. When there’s a cycle lane immediately to their left and cyclists use the main road instead
38. When you’re on time and your train / bus is late
39. People who stand in train doorways rather than moving down the carriage
40. Passengers that sniff or snort loudly on public transport
41. Impatient people who don’t wait for you to get off the Tube, train or bus first before barging on
42. When you let someone in and they get through the traffic lights and you don’t
43. Phone reception cutting out every five minutes
44. Waiting ages and then two buses arrive at once
45. People who have body odour and insist on using high grab rails
46. People who sit next to you despite there being lots of empty seats elsewhere
47. People asking you to move down the carriage when there’s clearly no more space available
48. People who swear on public transport
49. People who don’t let you in when you’re trying to get on a busy bus, train, or Tube
50. The disappointment of your bus driving past because it is full


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