Friday, March 20, 2015

Public Transport and the Daily Commute

For the past week, LC's car has been off the road, and as a consequence I've had to make other arrangements for getting to work. This has involved borrowing a car for a few days, getting a lift one day, and finally getting the train and bus to work today.

To give a picture of how this works out: we live 0.7 miles from a train station, and I work 2.1 miles from another on the same line. So you'd think it should be easy enough, right - a quick walk, a train, a shuttle bus, done.

Alas, it's not quite so simple, because that shuttle bus doesn't exist. Instead, there are two options: I can walk the 2.1 miles at the far end, or I can continue along one more stop and then get the bus back. Either way the time works out about the same - it's about 85 minutes for the journey end-to-end. (The bus is therefore preferable. Rather than walking, and having to cross some extremely busy roads, better just to let someone else take the strain and spend the time reading!)

There are two other factors to consider, however. The first of these is cost: today's journey cost me £12 for a return train ticket, plus £1.50 for the bus ticket one-way. That gives a total cost for the day at £15 (if I were to get the bus back, but I'm hoping someone will be kind enough to run me down to the station instead - something I can ask once but couldn't rely on every day). And that therefore puts the cost at £75 for the week, which is more than 1.5 times what I spend on petrol for the car. (That cost could, of course, be reduced somewhat by season tickets and the like, but I doubt it would ever get close to equal.)

And the second issue is of timing. The bus that I need is pretty regular and also appears to be pretty reliable, but the trains are only once per hour at 'off' times and once every half-hour at peak times. That meant that in order to get here before 8:30, I had to get the 6:55 train, and so had to get up at 5:45, which is an absurd hour. On the flip side, leaving work at 16:36 (which is what the inbound journey allows), the first train I can catch is the 17:38, which gets me home about 18:20. That was the time I got home last night, and while I did manage to get to band, it was only after a fairly stressful 45 minutes, and I was a few minutes late.

Sadly, it all just doesn't quite work. The journey is doable, and it's bearable for a few days, but it's not something that could be considered as a permanent arrangement. A shame.

1 comment:

Kezzie said...

Ahrgh!!!!! That's horrendous!