On Tuesday I travelled in four different forms of transport.
I got a lift to the town centre in my mum’s car, I got the train to Manchester, I travelled across the city centre on a tram and after returning to Bolton by train again I got a bus home. I also did a lot of walking.
I’m not afraid of public transport, nor do I particularly dislike it. In fact, I quite enjoy being able to relax on a bus or train and not have to worry about directions or timings (other than if the train is delayed, etc). I consider myself a public transport user and have been since I was sixteen or so.
In fact, on Tuesday morning I had a discussion with my mum about public transport and car usage. If I was to travel to Manchester in a car at 11am on a Tuesday I would probably set off about thirty minutes before I needed to be there. If I was going by train I would set off two hours ahead of time.
On the road near my house there’s a school and outside the school is always a large number of cars waiting to pick up children. I often wonder what percentage of these car driving parents/guardians actually don’t live very far away (within walking distance). But we have come to rely upon cars. If you go to work in a car, it would be easier, as a parent, to work as late as possible and then drive to pick the children up from school. Easier but not healthier.
Once upon a time people had to rely upon bus timetables, or further still, their feet.
Sometimes I think we’re a little lazy when it comes to travelling. Because we’re now a nation of car drivers we expect our public transport to be as quick and frequent, but for so many public transport users, this is certainly not the case. Why else would I set off two hours before I need to be somewhere? Ideally, I could get the bus half an hour before my train and the train half an hour before I need to be where I need to go. But there are many factors I must take into account.
1) What if my bus is late and/or doesn’t turn up? If I’m relying on the bus to get me to the train and it doesn’t turn up, I’ll probably miss said train.
2) Walking in between. Unlike some towns the bus and train station are a short walk apart. I usually get off at a stop earlier than the bus station because it’s actually quicker and easier for me to walk from that stop than the bus station. If I didn’t allow for walking time I would almost certainly miss my train.
3) What if my train is delayed and/or doesn’t turn up? It happens, probably more often than buses due to signalling issues and other such eventualities. I could get the bus nice and quickly, but if there any problems with the train, I would be sure to be late if I scheduled just ten extra minutes onto my journey instead of forty (the train to Manchester takes twenty minutes). That ten minutes is really needed for walking time on the other side.
4) I absolutely hate to be late. Some people are quite happy to get the last possible bus and train and make excuses if/when there are problems, but I am certainly not one of them.
I also believe that, as a public transport user, I get the majority of my exercise from walking to and from various forms of transport. If you’re a child being picked up by a parent in a car, or someone who only drives to and from different locations, when do you find the time to get your heart pumping as you make your way between bus and train? Of course, some people drive to the train station. But there are also a few people who decide to travel by bike. It’s little things like this that make our journeys longer than those travelling by car.
I ask of you, how much exercise do you get during the day? I’m not talking about going to the gym after work, I’m talking about in your daily routine. Do you have to walk across a city centre delivering post? Do you walk to and from various forms of public transport like me? Or do you walk up and down the stairs in your house once or twice a day?
I do wonder.
If I didn’t get to walk whenever I leave the house, I wouldn’t be lucky enough to take photos of things like this as I wander through the local park.
Today’s theme for the Twitter Blogathon, if you hadn’t already noticed, is Public Transport.
(Title from the Bachelor Girl song Buses and Trains. Strangely enough, the two songs I have heard that even remotely mention public transport both mention it in a negative way. Train Wreck by Sarah McLachlan being the other.)
Other Blogs in the Blogathon:
lilmisskaty – The wheels on the bus….
Katysense – Public Transport – It’s far too public.
Catnip – coming soon!