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Posted: 4 Jan 2017

Love my commute


My husband and I moved from Toronto five years ago and originally moved to Wimbledon. It gave us lots of commuting options to the city, but after a few years of being squeezed onto the tube, or trains being cancelled, we heard about MBNA Thames Clippers so thought we should investigate it a bit more.

At the same time we were looking to move house, I accepted a job in Canary Wharf.  After reading about MBNA Thames Clippers, and how it offered a much better way to commute we made a conscious decision to move to Putney.

I was a bit nervous the first day I walked to the pier, as taking the boat felt too good to be true. People smiled at me waiting and the crew greeted me with a hello. Something I didn’t ever experience on other commutes.  

I found a seat in the outside area of the boat, the sun was shining and I could not help but take photos of my journey to work. I was bursting inside that this was how I was now going to be commuting each day!

After a few days, I realised there were more bonuses that I had not even considered. The biggest one was that I always got a seat. There is never any overcrowding and it is so nice to be able to see outside as I head to the office. No matter what time of year it is, you have a completely different perspective of London when you see it from the river.

I also came to appreciate the barista on board that knew my tea order. What a treat to have someone see you waiting on the pier and have your order ready when you got on board. I know this does not happen to everyone, but I made a point to get to know the people I see every day and they do the same. London is a hectic place and to have sense of community is something to be cherished.

To my surprise and delight, that lovely coffee shop from the morning turns into a bar at night! You can still have a tea or a coffee, but you can also have a beer, wine, G&T or even a prosecco. That means I don’t have to wait an hour to decompress from the office, I can do it as soon as I get on the boat.

I have also met some pretty remarkable people the boat too. Other commuters just like me who have made the decision to travel on the river to work. When was the last time you started having a conversation with people you take the tube with?

Being above ground on my way to work has also allowed me to do last minute emails or take conference calls and still get home on time. To me boat time is me time, but when I need to I can still be connected. And it makes for some interesting conference calls when the crew make announcements about life jackets or the next pier.

It has been over three years since that first day on the boat and a I have seen a lot of changes.

The biggest difference is MBNA Thames Clippers’ two new boats in its fleet. They are much needed as the best kept secret in London is not so secret anymore. And the app has made buying tickets so much easier. I really recommend it to everyone. The app also helped me a few times when I was running late leaving the office. I used it to check when the next boat was due so that I can perfectly time when I leave the office.  

I enjoy using Twitter to share great photos from my commute, and this past summer I entered the #LoveMyCommute competition. And I won! As part of that I became the ‘chief commuting officer’ and agreed to write a blog about my experiences on board – so stay tuned for more tales from my river commute.