Commuters’ bugbears include man-spreaders, expensive tickets – and de-icing

A poll of 2,000 adults, who travel to work by car, bus, tube or train, found the single most annoying thing is being stuck in traffic for hours – with middle-lane hoggers also high on the list

Selective focus, automatic ticket barriers at London Paddington rail station
Commuters have revealed some of their biggest bugbears

Commuters’ biggest bugbears include train or tube man-spreaders, expensive ticket prices – and having to de-ice their vehicles.

A poll of 2,000 adults, who travel to work by car, bus, tube or train, found the single most annoying thing is being stuck in traffic for hours.

Traffic lights which keep changing to red as you approach, tailgaters, and people who undertake on the motorway also frustrate many of those polled.

Hefty train and bus fares are right up there too, with one in six citing them as one of their biggest annoyances.

The research was commissioned by rewards club, Virgin Red, after it emerged train tickets are set to increase by 3.8 per cent in March – a rise which 85 per cent of rail users describes as ‘out of hand’.

Unsurprisingly, people don’t like being sat in traffic for hours

Andrea Burchett, spokesperson for the rewards club, said: “No one likes to begin or end their working day with an onslaught of obstacles.”

The study also found, for 68 per cent, a frustrating commute can ruin their entire day.

Other annoyances include middle-lane hoggers, dawdlers, and loud sniffers on public transport – although 47 per cent admitted they have done such things themselves.

The age-old scenario of waiting ages and then two buses arriving at once is also irritating for many – as is trying to find a parking space at work, and when the bin collectors block the road.

Having to cart heavy bags to and from work is not popular, and neither are people who put their feet on the chairs on public transport.

The study also found 65 per cent have seen an increase in the cost of their commute in the past five years.

While 64 per of those who travel by train admitted they’re struggling to pay for their tickets.

Rising costs could also pose a problem for employers with 51 per cent revealing they would consider changing jobs if doing so reduced the price of their journey.

Despite bugbears such as rising prices, the commute is a much-valued part of the day for many of those polled.

So much so, four in 10 missed traveling to and from work during lockdown.

Traffic lights are also a source of annoyance, people say

Some of the best things about commuting, according to the study carried out through OnePoll, are listening to music, people watching, and being able to switch off between work and home life.

Andrea Burchett added: “Many commuters will feel the instant impact of train ticket price hikes in March.

“To make this a little less painful and reward our members, Virgin Red is doubling the number of points earned when booking through Virgin Trains Ticketing until 21 March.”


  1. De-icing the car
  2. Being stuck in traffic for hours
  3. tailgating
  4. People who change lane last minute and nearly cause an accident
  5. Delayed trains, buses or tubes
  6. Getting in the car and having to wait for the condensation to clear
  7. When the ‘traffic light god’ isn’t on your side
  8. Traffic lights which seem to serve no purpose
  9. People talking loudly on the phone on public transport
  10. Cyclists running red lights
  11. Middle lane drivers
  12. Dawdler’s
  13. When buses or trains simply don’t turn up
  14. Needing the toilet when stuck in traffic
  15. Feet on the seats
  16. When there’s a cycle lane immediately to their left and cyclists use the main road instead
  17. People who sit next to you despite there being lots of empty seats elsewhere
  18. Expensive train ticket prices
  19. Rubbish on the train tables / bus floors
  20. People refusing to give up their seat for others more needy (eg older passengers, pregnant women, people with disabilities or those with young children)
  21. People who drive at 50mph on the motorway
  22. People who don’t wait for you to get off the tube, train or bus first before barging on
  23. People who listen to terrible music (loudly)
  24. No air conditioning or ventilation on public transport during the summer
  25. Realizing you should have got petrol the day before and now you don’t have enough time
  26. Trying to find a parking space at work
  27. People who hog an extra seat with their bags
  28. When the bin collectors block the road
  29. People under-taking on the motorway
  30. People who sniff or snort loudly on public transport
  31. When you let someone in and they get through the traffic lights and you don’t
  32. People who eat smelly food next to you
  33. People eating loudly on public transport
  34. Having to cart heavy bags to and from work
  35. People who don’t let you on when you’re trying to get on a busy bus, train, or tube
  36. Waiting ages and then two buses arrive at once
  37. Having to stand under someone’s armpit
  38. People who stand in train doorways rather than moving down the carriage
  39. Manspreaders – men take up too much room by spreading their legs on public transport
  40. People asking you to “move down” the carriage when there’s clearly no more space available

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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