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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Reasons to be a cheerful commuter
By Jon Yuill
BBC News Online's rail commuters' champion

Commuting by train has turned Jon Yuill into a fully paid up, season-ticket touting whinger. But things are looking up for some rail users at least, leaving him trying to match this mood of optimism?

There's been a lot of talk recently about tilting trains. I can't see what all the fuss is about. We have had them on the Clacton line now for some years. Every time the doors open at stations, so many people pile on the train tilts alarmingly to one side (that's one side, not "One" side, as in the confusingly rebranded train operator of the line, bafflingly named One).

Jon Yuill
Elected: Jon Yuill was voted BBC News Online's rail commuters' champion by users of the site
Voice: His role is to speak up for the commuter
Commute: Married with three children, Jon commutes by train between Witham (Essex) and London
These new developments are giving many commuters the (in my view, false) hope of faster journey times.

Being a commuter, there is a tendency to live in a perpetual state of cynicism. So this week I have decided to dedicate the column to all the good things about commuting, a sort of life-affirming feel-good factor, before winter gets here and ruins it all (see, there I go again).

So before the leaves start to fall, the points freeze and mayhem ensues, here are my top five Reasons To Be A Cheerful Commuter.

1. Having time to read a paper. Sometimes, if there's a lengthy delay, the Sun readers on my train can reach as far as page six. Mind you, they do start at the back.

2. Having a stab at the quaint art of Sitting Quietly and Doing Nothing. Many attempt this, but plenty break down and, with shaking hands, reach for the mobile with the fevered desperation of smack-head seeking a fix. However, those who have mastered the art arrive relaxed and ready for the day ahead.

3. Working. Yes, it's incredible, isn't it, but there is a hardcore who view the train as an extension of the office. As if we don't work enough hours as it is. Curiously, you never see the chaps in first class slaving at their laptops. Is there a moral here?

4. Observing the inner-cities and thinking that despite their rich and vibrant past, and celebrated cultural diversity, you're glad you don't have to live there.

5. Playing the "puffer fish" game. This involves surreptitiously spreading out your body mass in such a way as to appear bigger than you are in the (often vain) hope that a lugubrious 30-stone fellow commuter having into view will park his ample frame anywhere else but the spare seat next to you.

Tell us any other reasons to make commuters smile?

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