Friday, 26 December 2008

Ain't no Midnight Train

To quote Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang
Indeed no trains at any time for a period of 58 hours, a unique achievement in Europe for the country that invented the railways. Incredible.
Maybe it’s a strange time to blog about public transport on a day when it barely exists, but if it’s hard to travel anywhere it means more time at the computer.

Actually its bus rather than train travel I’m talking about today. As you will all be aware, dear readers, transport has been a hot topic in Manchester recently, and a feature of the barrage of letters in the press is what can only be described as a fear and loathing of public transport, particularly bus travel. As a regular, indeed almost daily bus user, I find this very strange; I must inhabit a parallel universe.

Apparently, merely stepping on a bus exposes one to risk of violence from the antisocial members of the lower orders, blasting out their atrocious taste in music. I can honestly say that over the years I have travelled on the omnibuses of our conurbation I have never felt really threatened. Yes, the buses are often crowded and slow and the musical tastes of other passengers can be irritating, but on the plus side I can relax and read the paper on the way into work (and read the Manchester Evening News on the way home, although that only lasts me a couple of stops). Not only can I read the paper I can save money too. A weekly ticket costs me £10, colleagues coming in by car can pay that every couple of days for parking alone. It’s not that I only travel in the rush hour either. I often travel in the evenings, I also occasionally venture to other parts of the city outside the City Centre - Chorlton route.

So what is going on? Have I got used to a low quality of life? Am I just dead lucky? Or have I escaped the selfish air-conditioned bubble mentality of the average regular motorist?.

Having said all that there is a lot which could be improved in the buses which ply our conurbation, some of which would hopefully have been addressed had the TiF bid gone ahead. Of course all that has been kicked into touch now, by the sort of people who write the letters I referred to above. Any such improvements are now likely to be a long time coming.

So why the train reference at the start of the blog? Well, I'm experimenting with combining sound and text, and I couldn't think of a good song about buses. That's the problem I suppose, people really see the bus as the Cinderella of transport modes.
Incidentally there was one bus service running in Manchester on Christmas Day, and guess where it was running to?

Was it to the Cathedral, for people going to the Christmas service?

... No

Was it to the Trafford Centre for people to worship Mammon?

... No, not even there

It was of, course, to the &8$%^&*& Airport.

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