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From reading to flirting - nation of multi-taskers making the most of train journeys

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Over two thirds (68%) of Brits consider themselves multi-taskers with some spending a third of the day attempting to juggle at least two things at once.

Research released today from CrossCountry finds that a quarter of Brits (24%) spend over four hours multi-tasking a day and a busy one in ten (9%) do so for more than seven hours a day.

Almost one in two (46%) make the most of their travel time*. Two fifths (41%) are most likely to multi-task when on the train compared to just 10% who would do so whilst flying, and 7% when on the bus. 

Women rate themselves as the best multi taskers (61%) giving the accolade to a mere 1% of men. Recognising their female counterparts, just 11% of men regard themselves as the best when it comes to multi-tasking.

How are we making the most of our train journeys across Great Britain?

  • Topping the list, 70% of Brits choose to read a book and more than one in four (28%) are hard at it catching up on emails / work related tasks 
  • Those living in the South West are the most chatty, with 58% talking to strangers on the train compared to just 46% of their neighbours in the South East 
  • A quarter (25%) of people surveyed in Plymouth have used their journey to apply make-up compared to just 7% of Mancunians
  • People living in Leicester have looked for love, with one in seven (15%) admitting to flirting with a fellow traveller or member of staff
  • The Welsh are most likely to be found catching forty winks, with nearly half (49%) saying they've had a nap while on the train 

When it comes to doubling up Brits can't leave their tech alone. Some of the top results revealed that 26% use their mobile phone whilst on the toilet and almost one in five (14%) reply to emails whilst walking - often resulting in people falling off the pavement or bumping into lampposts and post boxes. Some admitted to dropping their phone in the toilet or bath when multi-tasking in the bathroom.

Commenting on the findings Emma Rudge, Customer Service Manager, from CrossCountry said: "We're not surprised so many people decide to make the most of their journey, the train is the perfect place for people to read a good book, catch up on work or on their sleep.

"As we lead increasingly busy lives our passengers choose to make the most of their journeys and if they have to make a last minute dash to the station they can take advantage of cheaper Advance purchase on the day fares which are available on a number of our services. Customers can book their train journey via our Train Tickets app whilst on the go, have their ticket sent straight to their mobile and reserve a seat up to 10 minutes before the train's departure."

Notes to editors

*The research was conducted by CrossCountry and Censuswide on a sample of 2,453 UK adults between 3-10 March, 2015.  

*Answers for 'have you ever multi-tasked when travelling'

The CrossCountry network is the most extensive passenger rail franchise in Britain. Stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance, Bournemouth to Manchester and from Stansted to Cardiff, it calls at over 100 stations. Based in Birmingham, CrossCountry connects seven of the Britain's 10 largest cities and delivers 295 services every weekday, equating to some 33 million passenger journeys a year.

For further information on CrossCountry services visit or follow them online via Twitter at @crosscountryuk, and their student Facebook page,

CrossCountry bookings

Passengers can buy tickets for any rail journey in Britain, with any train company and with no booking fee at or via the free CrossCountry Train Tickets app.

Download the app by visiting your app store or by texting TRAVEL to 87080.

Select this link to view the Press Release PDF

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