Sunday, 23 November 2014

Why public transport needs an overhaul.

Let's face it, no-one gets out of bed in the morning and thinks, 'today I am not going to take the car, I want to double my commute time and travel by bus', you use public transport because you have a reason to.

I study in Birmingham city centre, which is a nightmare to get in to at the best of times, but with the road closures over the summer and the Christmas market now on, driving in is quite stressful.  Parking is expensive too, at nearly £9 per day, so I choose to travel by train, this also gives me the option to get some extra studying done.

A return train ticket can be as little as £3.40 and the journey is roughly 25 minutes.

The problem is that trains start from a place where you don't live and deposit you not quite at the place you need to be so you have to catch a bus, and that is where the problem lies.

Yesterday I caught the 4.30 train from Birmingham New Street, it was on time and I arrived in Coventry around 4.55.  During the journey, the train manager had announced that the train was due to arrive in Euston at 5.55pm.

I have to catch two buses home from the station and I ended up walking through my front door also at 5.55pm.

By car it takes less than 10 minutes for the 2.5 mile journey from the station home, but by bus it takes the same amount of time as the train takes to get all the way to London.

And you still have to get from the bus stop home.

And buses are not cheap, whilst the train ticket is £3.40, the bus costs me £5.80 and because the routes are run by two different companies I cannot buy a cheaper day ticket.

Going to work too, by car it now takes me about 15 minutes, but when I was travelling by bus, the journey could take up to two hours purely because of the circuitous route that the service took.

Depending on where you live, services sometimes start too late and finish too early, even in the city and in the country it is much worse.

Until travel by bus is more relevant to people's needs, it is never going to be the first choice of anybody. 

Instead of buying buses with plush seats which constantly have to be replaced due to vandalism or irremovable dirt, why not have solid, but comfortably shaped, seats, this would cut down on cleaning time (the whole bus could just be hosed down) and repair costs, buses would last longer so more would be available, meaning more routes could be introduced.

Recently our bus stops have been installed with electronic displays, unfortunately, the times displayed are those at which the bus is due, information which can already be found on the paper timetables also displayed at the bus stop.  These displays would be more useful showing the time the bus will actually arrive.

How do you feel about public transport?


  1. I completely agree with you - how can the government really expect us to use public transport when it is slower than driving and often illogical and inconvenient? I drive and the pain of taking public transport is my boyfriend's current motivation for leaning!

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

    1. Glad it is not just me, I was worried I was just becoming a grumpy(er) old woman! But something does need to be done.