The bus - Better than acceptable

Found this interesting article on Onmibuses. Just goes to show what we're up against when trying to convert people from the car. It seems no matter how good the service is, we can't get away from the negative stigma attached to public transport in this country.
It’s funny how people seem at best to have a grudging acceptance of their bus service. Even when that service’s actually very good, they can’t bring themselves to say so, in public.
I was speaking to a woman from Bristol today (that fact in itself was rather strange but there you go). She’d been forced from her car owing to a crash. She was using the bus. Said she, referring to the bus service operated by First, “It’s not bad”. I felt this was undervaluing First’s service. So I dug a little deeper.
How far did she have to walk to a stop? About three or four minutes. How frequent was the bus? Often there was one within a couple of minutes wait. Was the bus punctual? Yes, so far as she could tell—at her inbound stop, at least. It might get delayed further in. Was there a shelter? Yes. Did it have real time? No. Were there usually seats available on board? Always going into town. Even though going home was sometimes full, she never needed to stand. Were the drivers friendly? They were OK, polite. Was the bus clean? Always in the morning but a few items of litter in the afternoon.

I told her that it sounded to me that her service was a little better than “not bad”. “Well, yeee-ssss” came the grudging response, I suppose so. “It’s a bit expensive, though”. It turned out to be £4. I wasn’t sure whether this was a single or a return. In Bristol, First has certainly been accused of costly fares, some of which are a throwback to the notoriously high fares charged all the way back by antecedent Bristol Omnibus Company.
I wondered how much it cost to park her car in Bristol. She sometimes managed to get a space at work but otherwise it was £8 a day, apparently. £8! QED said I. I estimated that the cost of a week’s travel ticket would be no more than two day’s parking and that’s without any petrol or diesel (or hassle, come to that).
The package as an alternative to the car seemed far better that “not bad”. Why can’t people work this out for themselves?
I think the reason people can't work it out is that they don't want to. They don't want to admit that it's better. It's not cool, it's not something you want to admit to. It's seen as a second class way to travel.

The only way to convert them is to get people to try it for themselves. Then maybe we'll wake up to the fact that for some people (not everybody), public transport is a better option.


  1. get becks on the bus. now't beats a bit of celebrity endorsement in this day and age.


Post a Comment