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German River Commuter makes a splash

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BY Gerry O'Hare
Employment law
BG Purple

The daily commute can be one of the most unpleasant parts of the day. Whether you’re stuck in nose-to-tail traffic, squeezed into an overcrowded train or waiting for a bus service which has a cavalier disregard for timetables, there’s no doubt it can be a stressful time. In fact, for many in the UK, the daily commute is getting worse. Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics show that 3.7 million of us have a commute of at least two hours every day. Unsurprisingly, some of the most brutal commutes are in London, with men working in finance or insurance the most likely to make long journeys. 

One man in Germany has found a novel way of getting to work, leaving his commuter woes behind by swimming to work. Each morning Benjamin David from Munich dons a wetsuit and waterproof bag packed with dry work clothes and plunges into the River Isar, swimming 1.2 miles to his office in the city. Mr David claims that he became frustrated with the traffic on his normal commute, and realised that it would be faster and less stressful for him to swim to work rather than use more traditional methods.

In fact, the idea of swimming to work is not new to the UK; the concept of a swimmable commuter route in London was floated as part of a 2012 regeneration competition by the Landscape Institute. The LidoLine envisaged that a stretch of the Regent’s canal would become a swimming lane, with a dedicated clean basin inserted into the canal which would also be used by boats and barges. Dedicated stations along the route would have lockers and changing rooms, allowing commuters to effect quick Clark Kent-style transformations from wetsuit to work suit before starting the day at the office. Sadly the idea did not win the competition and was not commissioned, but you never know, perhaps Mr David will inspire city planners to revive the idea!  

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