London Commuter Rides Train in Broom Cupboard, Much Like Another British Cultural Icon

Rail Commuters As U.K. Government Caps Train Fare Increases
The MTA has nothing on Greater Anglia. Photo: Bloomberg/2013 Bloomberg

If you think your morning commute is bad, an anonymous city worker who pays £6,000 a year for his train tickets (that’s about $8,500, or roughly $160 per week) to take the train from Suffolk to London and back would beg to differ. Owing to overcrowding on the line, he’s regularly forced to sit in a storage closet. According to The Telegraph, said anonymous commuter can “usually get an official seat during morning rush hour,” but he often finds that the train is too crowded to sit on his ride home. So, much like another British cultural icon, he’s forced to make use of the broom cupboard. “I found this little spot some time ago and I use it quite often,” he said. “No one seems to mind, but it isn’t great.”

Although the commuter refuses to divulge his name, a photo of him perched in his regular seat next to buckets and mops has spread to several publications, fueling outrage among those fed up with overcrowding. Sure, the average Manhattan commute resembles Dante’s fifth circle, but at least New Yorkers don’t pay $23 to sit in a broom cupboard, fictional precedent or no. (Possibly this is because our trains do not have broom closets and do not appear to have been swept or mopped, ever.)

A spokesperson for Abellio Greater Anglia (the company that runs the trains) used the photo as an opportunity to promote the company’s car conversion program, which is supposed to add additional seats. He also said the maintenance closet “should not be used by members of the public,” citing the in-cupboard intercom, which is reserved for the senior conductor. Frankly, the fact he hasn’t used the mic to make even one “cupboard under the stairs” reference seems like a missed opportunity. 

London Man Spends Commute in Cleaning Cupboard