Thursday 3 July 2008

Why do people not use public transport? - Archives 2008

I have had a long day today. I decided I would try to meet up with a bunch of home-educating folks (parents and kids) I had been wanting to get into a small social group for a while as socialising is one of the things that it is argued home-ed kids can miss out on.

I left the house at 10.20, I was leaving in plenty of time to do the 2 mile walk to the bus stop and popped into the wee charity shop (which sells great kids books for 10p each) So we picked up a few of them.

The bus was 10 mins late, not big problem, but there was already 3 buggies on board so it goes something like this ...

- wrestling E out of it at speed - folding it up - falling over it - getting money out for the fare - getting on board the bus - yikes no place for the buggy - bus starts - E falls over - I manage to plonk E on a seat - still holding the buggy upright (and all the bags, jumpers, jackets, hats that are required on such a trip.) bus stops for a few seconds - lift the buggy into the (much too small) luggage rack (tying not to perform a lobotomy on either E or the lady sitting on the other side of the luggage rack, as I say the rack was much too small for a buggy) Sit down.....ahhhh.... 25 minutes later repeat as above but in reverse.

That took me into Hamilton, I still need to get to Glasgow....
locate train station - buy ticket - have to get to the other platform - fold buggy back up - lift E - bump buggy (still laden with all those bags, jumpers, hats, etc) with one hand while carrying E in the other - get on train...sit down.... ahhhh..... 40 mins later... repeat as above but in reverse, this tim bumping down a switched off escalator (y'know with those big jaggy metal steps)

I took me 2 hours to go 25 miles... It cost me £5.20...

I wonder why people prefer to take their car...


  1. You've rather hit the nail on the head. There are very few places where public transport is suitable for anyone with a buggy.

    The London Underground (when I lived there) was pretty bad: the central stations had escalators for the most part, but there were nearly always stairs to street level. OK - someone would usually help, but it was still a pain.

    The buses were better, but got so crowded that a baby in a buggy could be sat on!

    But you have to remember that many people don't use public transport because they consider it "beneath" them. That of course might change with petrol at, what, £1.30 a litre (I'm converting from the Euro price here and adding a couple of pance, which seems to work much of the time); the question is, given the neglect of decades, will the networks be up to handling more people?

    I read somewhere that train passenger numbers were up about 20% in the last nine months - but is there any more rolling stock to accomodate them? I rather think not...

  2. Due to the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) there *should* be plenty of provision for buggy and wheelchair users (who often need the same facilities)

    The buses are all 'low floor' and you *should* be able to get a buggy on with no problem, all the train stations do tend to have lift... surprisingly always with an 'out-of-order' sign.

    The staff *should* be able and willing to help. They seemed neither, though I did not ask. I was offered assistance by a few members of the public, but not one member of staff.

    Petrol is priced at around £1.20 per litre just now. It currently costs us approximately 12p per mile in our car, obviously that will continue to rise (as will public transport fares)
    My fare yesterday equates to around 21p per mile, and that was just for one adult, if we decided to go by public transport as a family (baring in mind that under 3s go free) that is 42p per mile - and it still took me 2 hours (rather that 30 -35 mins by car) This doesn't factor in parking costs - but as I grew up in Glasgow, and we know the area, we are often able to find free or cheap parking in a backstreet.

    My argument is not with the general public but with the transport companies and the government - how on earth can you expect a population to use a sub-standard and over priced transport system - buggy or not.

    I am sure the transport companies are laughing, all this publicity about 'going green', government subsidies, and they still don't need to provide a decent service. Of course there isn't the rolling stock, why would you want people to have a safe and comfortable service when you can charge an arm and a leg for a crap one.

  3. I have to say "chance would be a fine thing" when it comes to using a bus for anything useful. The children can't get public or affordable school transport to school, so by the time we've driven them a carefully worked out round trip in the morning it would be madness to drive 8 miles home only to start the journey 12 miles away to work, when at the last school drop-off point I'm 5 miles away from work - do you see where I'm coming from? The comfort of public transport comes, in my mind, a walloping second to the infrequency-cum-absence of buses at sensible times.



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