According to a report in the paper, free bus passes may end. This would be a disaster for some people I regularly meet on the bus which they rely on, not just for transport but as a social lifeline. They talk to each other. Some people have no-one else to talk to all day – all week.
Fares are not cheap which is no problem for those of us who can afford it but it adds a lot to the price of food. If fewer trips are made to the shops to save on fares, this entails much heavier loads – which even trolleys canot carry. Also heavy trolleys are difficult to heave on and off buses.
Until recently, the bus ran every hour and I enjoyed being able to choose a time that suited and return when I wanted. Now I have to catch a bus at 11.00am and wait until 1.35pm until I can return. This can be a very long time to wait. I don’t always want a coffee or to go to the library but this is what I have to do to fill in time – again this all adds to cost. If I miss the bus, the next one is at 4.50pm and dark in the winter.
The reason for the changes is an amalgamation of several routes to and from Coventry via outlying places in order to make savings. Perhaps we should feel lucky that we have a bus at all. People are getting older and less mobile but are not in less need of transport, food and some sort of social life. If a chat on the bus is the highlight of the day, it seems very little to ask.
I think a talk I had with a man (on the bus, of course!) who came from an outlying village, might be of interest. His bus service had been cancelled and the route joined onto that for my service. This made it a much longer journey for him; the number of buses were decreased and the time in between buses extended.
He said he loved to come into town on a Wednesday as this was Market Day and he could visit the excellent plant stalls for his garden. (I saw him later with several little plants). He was really worried about any possibility of losing the bus service and his bus pass and said that his village had no other connection.
He then said “Getting old is a punishable offence!” How true.