So, You Think Your Commute Is Bad…

Getting there is half the fun they said.

Except sometimes “getting” means bumper to bumper on a freeway with a smoking semi jackknifed across the median and “there” means your office. Some folks have learned novel ways to deal with the daily grind—like just diving right in.

Literally. Into the river. Beats LA traffic. A few MVP commuters share their battle stories.

Beijing-Tibet Expressway, China

Some rush hours are measured in days. Probably the longest traffic jam in history lasted 12 days and stretched 62 miles in August 2010. Cars got up to the blistering speed of 2-miles-per-day in the bottleneck caused by, ironically, trucks carrying supplies for roadwork to ease congestion. If we could translate Chinese profanity there would be a quote in this space.

Across 110th Street

“My train was stuck in the tunnel between 116th Street and 110th Street. I was pregnant. It turns out that there was a fire on the tracks. I had to sit on the train until the FDNY came. I went into pre-labor and then went straight to the hospital once I got off that train.”


Hemet to South Perris Metrolink to Union Station to Civic Center, Los Angeles

“It’s usually 8:15 or 8:20 when I get home at night. Nine hours of work and six hours of commuting. That’s my story.”

–Carolyn Cherry

2km swim down the the river Isar, Berlin with laptop, suit, cell and shoes in a waterproof bag called a Wickelfisch

“I really hate traffic. I hate the aggression and the fighting for space. When I’m not swimming, I usually go to work by bike, but even that’s become very difficult. Munich has grown rapidly in the past seven years. There are seven bridges across the river and all these different forms of transport are jostling for space. So being a pragmatic person, I figured why not take the river to work?

“It’s a beautiful stretch of water with these huge salmon-like fish called huchen that have come back in the past few decades. If I wear goggles, I can watch them because the water’s so clear. The river has drinking-water quality these days, so if I get thirsty I can just take a mouthful.”

–Benjamin David

Rowing down the Anacostia River from Bladensburg, MD to the Library of Congress, DC

“It’s wonderful. It’s almost sedative. You get into sort of a rhythm, and it’s very, very soothing. I’m not the victim of Metro breakdowns or traffic jams. I’m… I’m the master of the river.”

–Gabriel Horchler, 70-year-old librarian

So being a pragmatic person, I figured why not take the river to work?

COMMUTE: 372- mile drive from Mariposa to San Jose

“When I get in, I’m pumped up, ready to go. Everybody else is dragging in looking for the coffeepot. I just drove 200 miles, dodging rain, fog, deer, elk and everything else. No problem.”

–David Givens, Winner of Midas Muffler’s “Longest Commute” contest

COMMUTE: Park and Ride to bus to Subway

“It takes 2 to 2.5 hours each way and the buses are sometimes full! Which means I am sitting outside for an additional 30 to 60 minutes in addition to the regular long commute. If I choose to go to the gym, I get up at 4:15 a.m. Don’t get home until 8 p.m., eat then to sleep between 9 and 10 p.m. and repeat. Love the job, not the commute.”


Upstairs to Downstairs

“The worst thing about my commute is when I accidentally kick the cat when walking down the stairs to my home office on the ground floor.”