pick a day, any day, as long as it's a Sunday

Towards the end of October, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire announced that travel would be free on all buses in her region, for a day, on 31st October.

The likes of Arriva, First, Transdev etc had all agreed to let the good people of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield hop and off services all day, without a single ticket being paid for.

These post-pandemic times need big calls and assuming they were sacrificing revenue to take part in the promotion, the bus operators should be congratulated for making it.

But playing Devil's Advocate, why a Sunday? A day when frequencies are often well below those of Monday to Saturday, retail hours aren't standard and the majority of workplaces and schools are closed? 

All of which could sway you to be sceptical that your experience of bus travel might not be an accurate one.

This is Bob Buxton's (@BobBuxtonYorksP) reply to Tracy's Twitter post launching Free Bus Sunday.

'Nice idea but if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Better to make it a weekday so people can 'sample' getting to work or school on the bus - it's these regular journeys which matter most. Still, hope it goes well.'

I'm aware you could make the bus free every day of the year and people would still make an excuse for not using it, but on this occasion, I think Bob has a valid point.

Why not offer free bus travel on a 'slap bang in the middle of the working week' Wednesday? Or a 'nearly the weekend so might be up for a pint in town' Thursday? Then Bob could sample what real bus travel is like - rush hour, kids at school, the whole nine yards. Get your service spot on then and you attract people anytime.

Hopefully, they'd be willing to pay a couple of quid for the privilege then too.