A City of London worker spends more than £6,000 a year on season tickets to sit in the broom cupboard of a packed train.
He sits next to a mop and bucket because there are usually no seats available during his daily commute between London and Ipswich.
The Daily Mail reports:
The City of London worker often struggles to find a seat on his return journey from London Liverpool Street to Ipswich, Suffolk, a journey he has made for the past 17 years.
So the financial high-flyer, who does not want to be named, has reverted to perching in the tiny cupboard with his book, just inches away from the train’s cleaning equipment.
He has become such a regular fixture in the staff compartment that employees working on the 6.30pm train often stop to speak with him.
The commuter said: ‘I can usually get an official seat on the way in to London during the morning rush hour. But in the evening the train I catch is usually so full there’s no space.
‘I found this little spot some time ago and I use it quite often. No one seems to mind but it isn’t great.’
The worker said there had been a surge in commuters over the past few years and it was very tough to find a seat, especially on rush-hour services heading out of London.
But he is still teased by colleagues who claim his commute is ‘easy’ compared to theirs, because he only has to get one train.
‘Those who come from the south have to catch a bus, a train and then the Tube,’ he said. ‘They think its luxury that I only have to catch the train – even though I have to sit with the cleaning kit.’
An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesman said the cabin he sits in was technically the crew compartment and houses the intercom for the senior conductor.
The spokesman added that the compartments are in the process of being removed from carriages, increasing the capacity from 24 first class seats to 54 standard class seats.
They said: ‘Two of the seven vehicles of this type operating have already been converted and on completion of the programme later this year, this will provide over 600,000 more standard seats a year (or 2,500 more seats a day) on our intercity services.
‘We are also continuing to work with regional stakeholders as part of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce in making the case for the investment in infrastructure and new rolling stock that we all wish to see.’
The Ipswich to London line has not had serious investment in rolling stock for decades. The last new franchise in the region was unveiled in 2004 and boasted no new trains.
Since then there has been a short-term franchise which also did not include new trains, although it did allow existing carriages to be updated.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who has been part of the task force trying to improve rail services, found the picture of the mops and bucket commuter amusing.
But the Tory MP said it perfectly highlighted the problem faced by travellers.
Mr Gummer said: ‘This picture shows exactly why we need to see hundreds of millions of pounds invested in new rolling stock and new track.
‘It is not right that people who pay a large amount for season tickets should feel the need to sit somewhere like this.’
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