I’M all for spending more on buses, the Cinderella of our public transport. But are those behind such proposals aware what buses are like outside of London?
I say outside of London deliberately, as in the capital buses have separate doors for getting on and off, also on-board information telling you when you are at a particular stop. Elsewhere, however, one door is the norm, so you have to wait until everyone gets off before new passengers can board.
We have got weekly tickets and contactless payments, but you can’t buy tickets from a machine before you board. So that means another delay for passengers.
Which leads me to an unspoken reason which deters people from travelling – other passengers! I’m thinking of unruly drunks at night who, without conductors to keep them in check, can be more than a nuisance to the rest of us. Then the desire to encourage mothers with buggies forgets the fact that young infants can make horrible noises that upset others. I don’t really know how you can get round this, as you can’t very well tell mothers to take their children off the bus!
Nevertheless, it is an issue that those wanting to encourage bus travel must surely address.