I was recently in Manchester and rode the Metro link tram into town. We bought tickets via a ticket machine and what I found was a single was £3.50 and a return was £3.70. Why the prices are so similar I have no idea. For the sake of 20p I got a return even though the odds were that we would come back in a taxi.

I think this sort of pricing is fairly common although I haven’t seen this closer to where I live (West Yorkshire). But the other problem with buying tickets is when you decide what you want you are guessing what will happen in the future… Yesterday I bought a day rider bus ticket (same as a return costing £3.80). However, I got a lift back with a friend so I could have got away with just a single (£2.50). This is where the card payment system adopted by large cities wins in my opinion.

Just pay for what you use, when you use it!

Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge are to get new stations. The process is a lengthy one, no work starting for 18 months after this proposal reported on WYMetro’s web site. This has been long overdue in my opinion. The first time I rode this train I couldn’t believe it didn’t stop anywhere in Leeds or Bradford until it reached Shipley, the next stop out of Leeds. That’s ten miles of built up areas with no stopping. Well, we have until late 2014 to look forward to a better service. Watch this space!

In the UK, The Conservative Government of the 1990’s were crazy about privatising all public services (selling government/council run services to private companies). In my opinion this was a poor idea, especially regarding transport as private companies concentrate on profit making routes to the detriment of low usage areas.

Other problems occurred after maintenance of railway lines was sub-contracted to lackadaisical   companies leading to several train crashes here in England. Buses too saw different companies fighting for the same passengers eg) Oxford Road in Manchester, charging all sorts of fares.

Perhaps there is a realisation that public transport should be run for the people by the people.
Plans to get West Yorkshire buses under public control. Different bus companies have emerged in Leeds meaning a day travel ticket is only accepted on that companies buses. Having to buy tickets every time you get on a bus is not user friendly.

09. February 2012 · Write a comment · Categories: experiences · Tags:

I decided to go to the supermarket today and get the bus. The schedule states the number 6 goes every 10 minutes. Except, I had to wait 15 minutes! In the cold.

A bus or train service is great if it sticks to the timetable. If it doesn’t, it leaves you feeling like you never want to get on public transport again! This is so important and yet is just not happening. [Sigh]

I need to write up on my travel experiences…The rest of the world it seems does quality public transport!

 

So this week I had some more car free adventures.

I needed to go a few miles to go to a specialist shop so I got the bus. The First Bus I get sells a day pass ticket if you go any reasonable distance – so if you want a return travelling about 4 miles, they sell you a day rider ticket (£3.80). This is significant as to what happened later.

GOOD 🙂

So as I had this bus ticket, I got my money’s worth, riding buses 5 times, including to and from my local shops.

BAD 🙁

Thinking it would be handy to use the bus to go to my martial art class at 7pm, I got an evening bus. I walked to a stop that has multiple services, but to my dismay, I saw five buses travel in the opposite direction and only one venture to town (where I was going) in 45 minutes! Feeble service.
Two disappointing notes to add: The bus that came through still had it’s number displayed instead of ‘Not in service’ and the bus stop had a time table display which obviously does not show live data.
Luckily, a friend gave me a life back at 9pm saving more hanging around. What I really hate about waiting for buses is the feeling you are not doing anything constructive. You are at the mercy of that big behemoth of the road, if it decides to pay you a visit. Rarely punctual, pricey and lacking information. Our bus service leaves a lot to be desired, still.

Cycle stop

On a brighter note, the following day I decided to not use public transport to go to town (6 miles), but to cycle in and use the Cycle Point at the main train station. This is a great idea, commuters being able to drop their bikes off for the day for £1 per day. I did my shopping that day and rode home in the rush hour without too much trouble.
There were plenty of bikes in the Cycle Point but they said they had capacity for another 300 bikes upstairs! I did notice also that day that many people are happy to leave their bikes locked to railings and lamp-posts (free of course) but for the sake of £1, I prefer to leave mine in a safe place (although they do recommend you lock up your bikes in the Cycle Point).

Further details can be found at Northern Rail – Leeds Cycle Point

As I am car free at the moment I decided to use my bike this week to the shops and post office. This is a good thing – get the heart pumping and the legs working, etc. Unfortunately there are some snags to riding a bike to the shops.

  1. Keys – bikes need unlocking and locking up everywhere you go. I have a D-lock which is quite heavy.
  2. Cycling gear – helmet and if you’re keen like me you have a separate wardrobe for cycling in!
  3. Storage – only having  a ruck sack, I find I can only get one carrier bag’s worth of shopping in it.

So for posting a letter it was great, but for doing the weekly shop, walking wins.